With public worship curtailed as social distancing measures have been introduced, the BBC is providing a wide range of different faith groups the opportunity to reflect, worship and mark key religious festivals during these challenging times.
The programming includes live worship and virtual church services as well as special new content on the BBC’s flagship religious strands on TV and radio including Songs Of Praise on BBC One, Sunday Worship and Thought For The Day on BBC Radio 4 and Heart And Soul on the World Service.
There will be a rich mix of new programming across TV and radio to mark the Easter weekend – including The Archbishop of Canterbury delivering his Easter message from Lambeth Palace on Easter Sunday Worship and Pope Francis giving his Easter message and blessing, Urbi et Orbi live from Rome – as well as special content for Passover which continues until next Thursday. Further festivals from different faiths will be marked in the coming weeks, including Vaisakhi, Ramadan, Eid, Vesak Day and Hindu reflections during May, with a range of content across television, radio and digital. New online content includes a Mini St Matthew Passion from the BBC Singers, and presenters including Mim Shaikh and Mehreen Baig recording Ramadan Lockdown Diaries which will feature across the BBC and Asian Network’s YouTube, Facebook and Instagram accounts.
Newly commissioned programmes include a new series for BBC One, Sunday Stories Of Us which will shine a light on faith and spirituality from a variety of perspectives and a new programme, My Mate’s A Muslim, marking Ramadan for BBC Three. In addition, there will be special items on BBC Breakfast, The One Show, BBC News, Saturday Kitchen, Daily Kitchen and Newsround and guests from a range of different faiths across BBC radio networks, all aimed at representing a variety of faiths across BBC content.
Daisy Scalchi, Commissioning Editor, BBC Factual, says: ”We remain passionate about representing a variety of faiths in both worship and celebration, especially during the current crisis. Communities of all faiths and none are finding ways to come together, without being able to get together, and we aim to reflect that in our offering across multiple platforms over the coming weeks.”
Christine Morgan, Head of Radio, Religion and Ethics, says: “In these unprecedented times music, worship, conversation and the lived experience of faith communities will be more important than ever. Unusually over the next few weeks the festivals of several faith traditions coincide. We will provide programmes to serve those who aren’t able to gather in their places of worship, those who rely on the breadth of our religious programmes and those who may be looking for them for the first time.”