ly, at Nine Lessons and Carols the boy asked to perform alone for a global audience of about 30 million is selected at the very last moment. Only as the news headlines are being read out on the hour does the choir’s director, Stephen Cleobury, nod in the direction of his chosen one. It’s a method that’s existed since the service’s first radio broadcast in 1928, and allows Cleobury to ‘keep his options open’, limits jealousy between the boys and avoids one going to bed on the 23rd in a cold sweat. Does it work?
‘Yeeee-esss,’ Sam protests. ‘It honestly doesn’t matter. We’re all friends and support each other, so we’ll just be happy for whoever’s picked. Besides, it’s what we do here all year. It’s what the school trains us for.’