Press Office

Tuesday 16 Sep 2014

Press Releases

BBC Television reflects on the true meaning of Easter

This Easter, the true meaning of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ will be marked by BBC Religion & Ethics television, through documentaries, live worship and sacred music.

For the first time there will be a special service from Kings College Cambridge, Easter From King's, (Saturday 3 April at 5.40pm on BBC Two), which will feature music from the world-famous Chapel Choir of King's College plus a series of readings to mark the Easter Story.

On BBC One, for Holy Week, Nicky Campbell investigates what it means to be a Christian in Britain today in Are Christians Being Persecuted? (Easter Sunday 4 April at 10.50pm). Going behind the headlines to explore a number of high-profile legal cases, the documentary asks some searching questions about the changing nature of how Christianity and Christians are viewed in our society.

The Day That Jesus Died, on Good Friday (at 9.00am on BBC One), asks what is the meaning of Christ's death on the cross? In Judaism, death by crucifixion is seen as a defeat; in Islam it is seen as a humiliation. So why in Christianity is it seen as a victory? Featuring a series of interviews with leading Christian figures such as Rowan Williams, John Sentamu and Tom Wright among others, the programme attempts to uncover the real meaning of Good Friday.

On Easter Day (at 10.00am on BBC One), Easter Worship – He Is Risen Today this year will come from Winchester Cathedral, where the principal celebrant will be the Dean of Winchester – The Very Reverend James Atwell – and the sermon will be given by the Bishop of Winchester – The Right Reverend Michael Scott-Joynt.

And BBC One will also transmit Pope Benedict XVI's traditional Easter message and blessing Urbi et Orbi, "to the city and the world," at 11.00am.

In The First Easter – A Songs Of Praise Special, (on Easter Sunday at 4.15pm on BBC One), Aled Jones travels to the Holy Land to discover what life was like for those who witnessed the first Easter Day. There's festive music from Tel Aviv choir Sirenot and vocalist Riki Neeb who works as a gardener at the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem. Easter hymns – including The Day Of The Resurrection and Thine Be The Glory – are sung in Christ Church, the first Protestant church to be built in the Middle East.

BBC Two celebrates Easter through music and art. Music featured in Easter From King's includes Ave Verum Corpus (Mozart), Panis Anglicus (Franck), Hallelujah Chorus (Handel) and O Vos Omnes (Casals).

And Private Life Of An Easter Masterpiece (on Saturday 3 April at 6.55pm on BBC Two) explores The Descent From The Cross by Rogier van der Weyden, which has been delighting art lovers for hundreds of years.

Susie Nash, Head of the Renaissance Section of the Courtauld Institute Of Art in London, describes it as "the greatest work of northern art of the 15th century and certainly the most influential", but what is the secret history of this world-renowned painting?

Private Life Of An Easter Masterpiece delves into the turbulent times of this iconic portrayal of Christ, charting its history from its inception and rise to fame, to reportedly surviving a shipwreck and in more recent times becoming one of the first paintings to be featured on Google Earth.

Aaqil Ahmed, Head of Religion and Ethics and Commissioning Editor TV, said: "Christian programming is the cornerstone of our output on television, radio and online, and I am very pleased to announce our eclectic array of programming on television to mark Easter this year, which I am sure viewers will find both thought-provoking and enjoyable."

Detailed programme information for all the programmes mentioned can be found at: bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/proginfo.

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