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As the Notting Hill Carnival celebrates its 50th anniversary, Robert Beckford finds out about the Christian origins of carnival. Plus a special performance by Heather Small.

As the Notting Hill Carnival celebrates its 50th anniversary, Robert Beckford finds out about the Christian origins of carnival and meets the people who put their faith into the festival. Plus music from across the country and a special performance by Heather Small.


What a Friend We Have in Jesus/Praise Him from Ruach City Church, Brixton
At the Name of Jesus from St Mary-e-Tower, Ipswich
How Great Thou Art from Llandaff Cathedral, Cardiff
People Get Ready by Heather Small
You Are Good from New Community Church, Southampton
Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer by the Drifters
Thine Be the Glory from St Mary's Church, Portsea.

35 minutes

Last on

Sun 21 Aug 2016 16:25

Music Played

Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

  • Charles Crozat Converse

    What A Friend We Have In Jesus/Praise Him

    Choir: Choir and Congregation of Ruach City Church, Brixton. Featured Artist: Nicky Brown. Featured Artist: Mark Crawford. Featured Artist: Jerry Logan. Featured Artist: Clive McKinley. Featured Artist: Michael Osbourne. Featured Artist: Olrick Coker. Featured Artist: Marcia Walder Thomas. Featured Artist: Danielle Mahailet. Composer: Charles Crozat Converse. Music Arranger: Nicky Brown. Lyricist: Joseph Scriven.

    Tune: Converse 87 87 D

  • Michael Brierley

    At The Name Of Jesus

    Choir: Choir and Congregation of St. Mary-Le-Tower, Ipswich. Conductor: Noel Tredinnick. Featured Artist: William Baldry. Featured Artist: Christopher Borrett. Featured Artist: St. Mary-Le-Tower Choir. Composer: Michael Brierley. Music Arranger: James Whitbourn. Lyricist: Caroline Noel.

    Tune: Camberwell

  • Stuart K. Hine

    How Great Thou Art

    Choir: Choir and Congregation of Llandaff Cathedral, Cardiff. Conductor: Tim Rhys-Evans. Featured Artist: Côr Caerdydd. Featured Artist: Cardiff Sinfonietta Orchestra. Lyricist: Stuart K. Hine.

    Composer: Stuart K. Hine

  • Curtis Mayfield

    People Get Ready

    Choir: Heather Small. Conductor: Ken Burton. Featured Artist: Marc Baptiste. Featured Artist: Mike Mansbridge. Featured Artist: Andy Kydd. Featured Artist: Everoll Corea. Featured Artist: Kenton Reid. Featured Artist: Adventist Vocal Ensemble. Music Arranger: Ken Burton. Lyricist: Curtis Mayfield.

    Composer: Curtis Mayfield

  • Jeremy Riddle

    You Are Good

    Choir: Choir and Congregation of New Community Church, Southampton. Conductor: David Lawrence. Featured Artist: Amy Ward. Featured Artist: Andrew Worsfold. Featured Artist: Ben Reid. Featured Artist: Chelange Joseph. Featured Artist: Mike Oldfield. Featured Artist: Michael Powell. Featured Artist: Russell Boniface. Featured Artist: Sarah-Louise Amer. Featured Artist: Stephen Evans. Composer: Brian Johnson. Composer: Jeremy Riddle. Music Arranger: Michael Powell.

    Composer: Brian Johnson

  • John Hughes

    Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer

    Choir: The Drifters. Lyricist: William Williams. Lyricist: Peter Williams.

    Tune: Cwm Rhondda

  • George Frideric Handel

    Thine Be The Glory

    Choir: Choir and Congregation of St. Mary's Church, Portsea. Conductor: Paul Leddington-Wright. Featured Artist: Brian Moles. Composer: George Frideric Handel. Music Arranger: Paul Leddington-Wright. Lyricist: Edmond Budry. Lyricist: Richard Hoyle.

    Tune: Maccabaeus


Notting Hill Carnival - Part One

Carnival, according to the dictionary, means an annual festival, typically during the week before Lent in Roman Catholic countries, involving processions, music, dancing and the use of masquerade. Carnivals in West London date back to the late 1950s at a time when racial integration was a real issue. Michael King's father, Sam, was a local pastor and one of the founders of the first carnival.

Sam King started the carnival with Claudia Jones and it was originally called the 'West Indian Carnival' and was a celebration of Caribbean culture. He was the treasurer for the festival and was integral to setting up the first festival.

Even though he was brought up in the church, Michael only became a Christian and ultimately ordained, later in life.

Rugby League Fan's Story - Jim McVeigh

Next week, 32 rugby league-mad fans will walk out on to the centre of the Wembley pitch and sing 'Abide With Me'. This will be the culmination of a long search by Songs of Praise to find a choir of super fans of the sport to sing this meaningful and powerful hymn.

At 84 years old, Jim McVeigh will be the oldest member of our choir. Jim grew up supporting Batley Bulldogs and remembers his father taking him there in the 1930s tucked in his overcoat. Jim is a keen volunteer at the club and at every home game he can be found running the car park.

Jim was nominated to sing in the choir by his eldest son Andrew, not only for his love of the game but also for his work in the wider community. Two years ago Jim fell seriously ill with pneumonia but has since made a full recovery. To show his gratitude, the former club singer helps run a choir session in the hospital chapel for other's with respiratory illnesses. He calls his scratch choir "The Cough Mixtures". He is really looking forward to singing 'Abide With Me' but his favourite hymn is 'How Great Thou Art'.

Heather Small

Heather Small made her name when her band M People made it big in the nineties. But a lot of her fans may not know about her religious roots. A regular at the 'Good News Club', her love of gospel comes from her grandparents.

Notting Hill Carnival - Part Two

One of the most distinctive sights at the Notting Hill Carnival is the costumed parade. Giselle Carter is following in her father's footsteps creating colourful outfits for the kiddies' carnival. She believes that the carnival still has a spiritual flavour and the creativity is an expression of God.   


Role Contributor
Presenter Robert Beckford
Series Producer Matthew Napier
Executive Producer Tommy Nagra


Which will be named the UK's favourite hymn?

Which will be named the UK's favourite hymn?

Choose your all-time number one from the list of 100 hymns and worship songs.