This Christmas, UK pubcaster The BBC's religious programming
goes behind the scenes of one of Britain's most treasured
places of worship - Westminster Abbey.
David Suchet will embark on a personal journey following in
the footsteps of St Paul; writer and historian Simon Sebag
Montefiore will explore Rome, the Eternal City; and, as he
prepares to step down as Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan
Williams will intimately reveal the beauty and heritage of
worship on BBC One comes from St Anne's Cathedral, Leeds and
St Mary Redcliffe, Bristol. And BBC Radio 4 will herald the
start of Christmas Day with a live broadcast from Liverpool
Commissioning Editor Religion and Head of Religion & Ethics
Aaqil Ahmed said, "As we prepare for Christmas, it is
befitting that Westminster Abbey is at the heart of our celebrations
given it's unique stature at the centre of national worship
in this country. Throughout the Christmas period there will
also be a diverse rich mix of traditional carols, festive
music, contemplation, conversation and live worship across
BBC Television and Radio.
preparations start on BBC One on Sunday mornings, with the
return of 'Fern Britton Meets', the series in which Fern talks
to people in the public eye about their faith. Throughout
the Advent season, 'Songs Of Praise' presents four special
programmes. On Advent Sunday, Sir Derek Jacobi and Sheila
Hancock herald the start of the season with a selection of
poems and readings that focus on the preparation for Christ's
'Wartime Christmas', Aled Jones visits Holy Cross Church in
Greenford, Middlesex, a building conceived on the eve of the
Second World War and completed in 1941.
in the run up to the festive period is a two-part series on
BBC One - 'David Suchet: In The Footsteps Of St Paul', which
follows the actor as he goes on a personal journey in search
of this enigmatic man and his mission.
One will herald the start of Christmas Day with the traditional
Midnight Mass, live from St Anne's Cathedral in Leeds.
the Sunday after Christmas, in Celebrating 2012 Big Sing,
Alfie Boe and soprano sensation Laura Wright are the guest
soloists to join 5,000 voices in the Royal Albert Hall for
spectacular hymns that reflect this historic year for the
United Kingdom. Aled Jones meets Olympic gold medalists Helen
Glover and Heather Stanning and there's a special performance
by the Songs of Praise Senior School Choir of the Year from
St George's College in Weybridge.
on New Year's Day BBC One will broadcast the Archbishop of
Canterbury's annual New Year's Message.
month, BBC Two presents Westminster Abbey, a three-part series
that takes a behind-the-scenes look at one of Britain's most
historic institutions, following the rhythm of the liturgical
calendar from Candlemas to preparations for Christmas. Featuring
interviews with members of the 250 staff who oversee the Abbey's
spiritual mission, to ensure the upkeep of a World Heritage
site and co-ordinate 1,500 services a year.
Christmas Eve, BBC Two presents Carols From King's. This traditional
celebration of the birth of Christ is the television programme
that for many marks the true start of Christmas. The sight
and sound of a lone choirboy singing Once in Royal David's
City amid the candlelit fan-vaulted splendour of the Chapel
of King's College, Cambridge is the beginning of a feast of
Christmas words and music. The Christmas story is told in
the words of the King James' Bible and in poems by Rainer
Maria Rilke, William Austin and Laurie Lee, and the world-famous
Chapel Choir, under the direction of Stephen Cleobury, sing
carols old and new, including The Holly and the Ivy, Good
Christian Men Rejoice and The Angel Gabriel.
BBC Four in a new three-part series, Rome: A History Of The
Eternal City, historian Simon Sebag Montefiore, uncovers the
central role played by religion in creating and maintaining
the power of the city of Rome, from its foundations to the
modern day. From its founding myth and its pagan gods whose
actions dictated the politics of ancient Rome, to the time
that a new cult from the East threatened the status quo -