This year we’ve been working hard to better represent religions and ethics, and this season of programming is a reminder of the many different ways in which audiences can find spiritual moments across the BBC at Christmas.James Purnell
Date: 29.11.2018 Last updated: 29.11.2018 at 16.29
Live worship, music, conversation, reflection and tradition are all part of this year’s religious programming across BBC television and radio.
Christmas worship on BBC One will begin with Midnight Mass broadcast live from thousand year old Buckfast Abbey in Devon. This year’s Christmas Day service on the channel will be brought to viewers from Oldham Parish Church; a heart-warming Christmas family service with popular carols accompanied by the award-winning Oldham Band.
BBC Two will present Christmas at St Paul’s, an exclusive behind-the-scenes glimpse behind the doors of St Paul’s Cathedral in the incredibly busy run up to Christmas Day. BBC cameras will also be following the last twelve months in the life of the choristers and choral scholars at King’s in 100 Years of Carols From King’s, following them as they perform in over 200 services, record a new album and tour, ending with the much loved Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols which has become a British institution. These programmes will be complemented with the return of a much-loved Christmas tradition, Carol’s from Kings, which will bring viewers a feast of music and spoken word from the magical, candlelit Chapel of King’s College, Cambridge.
To mark and celebrate Advent well-known figures June Sarpong, Cherry Healey, Gavin Peacock and JJ Chalmers will revisit key events from their past that have shaped them, each exploring their unique relationships with religion and faith in My Faith and Me on BBC One. The Christmas Big Sing will also return, with a Songs of Praise audience filling up the McEwan Hall, Edinburgh, presented by Aled Jones and Katherine Jenkins, also on BBC One.
Religious services on BBC Radio will begin on BBC Radio 3 with a special Service of Advent with Carols from the Chapel of St John’s College, Cambridge. Services will continue from across the country on BBC Radio 4, including the traditional Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols live on Christmas Eve from King’s College Cambridge, and this year’s Christmas Day service from the atmospheric setting of the Chapel of Lambeth Palace, led by The Archbishop of Canterbury.
Further radio programmes include Once In Royal David’s City which will explore the iconic tradition of a solo choirboy singing the first verse of the famous carol on Christmas Eve, and Christmas-obsessive comedian Paul Kerensa will offer a light-hearted reflection on our traditions for Christmas night, both on BBC Radio 4.
James Purnell, Director, Radio and Education says: “This year we’ve been working hard to better represent religions and ethics, and this season of programming is a reminder of the many different ways in which audiences can find spiritual moments across the BBC at Christmas."
Fatima Salaria, Commissioning Editor, Religion and Ethics says: “The BBC continues its tradition of bringing together an atmospheric mix of traditional music and carols, live worship and inspirational stories to mark Christmas. As people around the country come together to celebrate and reflect on this special time of the year, I hope our programmes will offer everyone something that can inspire, uplift and resonate throughout the festive period.”