BBC announces religious programming this Easter

MUMBAI: BBC has announced that this Easter BBC Religion and Ethics reflects on the life and legacy of Jesus through major documentaries, sacred music, readings and live worship.

BBC One will broadcast The Royal Maundy Service on 21 April live from Westminster Abbey, presented by Huw Edwards. The service coincides with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II‘s 85th birthday, the first time this has happened during her reign.

The service will see some of Her Majesty‘s subjects receive the gift of Maundy money as recognition of the work they have done in their communities. Music during the service will include Praise To The Holiest In The Heights, Give Almes Of Thy Goods and Handel‘s Zadok The Priest.

For Holy Week, BBC One presents a special documentary does Does Christianity Have A Future? Ann Widdecombe looks at the changing face of Christianity in the UK and asks if there is still a role for an established church.

Also during Holy Week, BBC One will broadcast The Story Of Jesus, a two-part series that explores the life and teaching of Jesus, using the very latest archaeological, historical and theological research with dramatic reconstructions of key moments in the Gospels.

The Story Of Jesus is a co-production for BBC One between CTVC and Big Book Media.

On BBC Radio 3, Joan Bakewell explores the beliefs of artists, thinkers, religious leaders and other public figures in a returning series of Belief, broadcast Monday to Friday during Holy Week. Guests for the week are: comedian Omid Djalili, philosopher Raymond Tallis, novelist Salley Vickers, composer Tarik O‘ Rega, and American theologian Stanley Hauerwas.

To mark Good Friday, BBC One presents What Is The Point In Forgiveness? Historian Bettany Hughes explores the notion of forgiveness throughout history. Bettany undertakes a journey through more than 2,000 years to find out whether and how forgiveness has benefited humankind.

Just after 3 pm, as Christians mark the hour of Christ‘s suffering in words of prayer, readings and music, BBC Radio 4 presents Good Friday Liturgy. Professor Tina Beattie, Director of the Digby Stuart Research Centre for Catholic Studies at Roehampton University, visits Jerusalem and what may have been the actual places of trial, suffering and resurrection in the story of Christ‘s Passion.

On BBC Radio 2, Aled Jones presents At The Foot Of The Cross. St Albans Cathedral is the glorious setting for meditation in words and music for Good Friday. Music, poetry and readings from the Bible read by Hugh Bonneville and Emma Fielding tell the story of the crucifixion with, at its centre, a complete performance of Fauré‘s Requiem.

On the Saturday of Holy Week (Easter Eve), Radio 4 provides an early start to the day with spiritual comment and prayer on Prayer For The Day with the Bishop of London, the Rt Rev Richard Chartres.

And in The Lamentations Of Jeremiah, on Radio 3, Catherine Bott looks at the poems in the Book Of Jeremiah and considers what inspired so many composers to set these dark texts to music. Music features includes pieces by Brumel, Heinichen, Durante, Byrd, Tallis, White, Palestrina, Lassus, Victoria and Zelenka.

Choruses and hymns will also reflect the emotions and power of the gospel later on Easter Eve, with the welcome return on BBC Two of Easter From King‘s which tells, in words and music, the story of the last days of the earthly life of Jesus and his resurrection. Music sung by the world-famous Chapel choir, directed by Stephen Cleobury, includes Lotti‘s Crucifixus, pieces from Handel‘s Messiah and Mozart‘s Ave Verum Corpus.

On Easter Morning, worship on the BBC begins in the Sunrise Service on Radio 4. The Dean of Liverpool Cathedral Metropolitan Cathedral Canon Anthony O‘Brien presents a service for the beginning of Easter Day. Joyful Easter carols include: Ye Sons And Daughters, Walking In A Garden, I Know That My Redeemer Lives and Thine Be The Glory.

Sunday Worship, Easter Day, also on Radio 4, will come live from St George‘s Chapel Windsor Castle. The joy of Easter is celebrated in a communion service from the Book Of Common Prayer, live from St George‘s Chapel, Windsor Castle. Hymns include Jesus Christ Is Risen Today, This Joyful Eastertide, and Thine Be The glory. The Preacher and celebrant: The Revd Dr Hueston Finlay.

BBC One will show live Easter Day Eucharist from Salisbury Cathedral. The service will be introduced by the Dean of Salisbury, the Very Rev. June Osborne, who will also preach and the President is the Rt Rev. Dr Christopher Herbert. The programme opens with the lighting of the Paschal Candle, symbolising the Light of Christ, which will be lit from a bonfire outside the Cathedral just before dawn on Easter morning.

BBC One will also transmit Pope Benedict XVI‘s traditional Easter message and blessing Urbi Et Orbi, "to the city and the world".

Songs Of Praise on BBC One celebrates Easter Day with traditional hymns from Wesley Memorial Church in Oxford, plus songs from tenor Wynne Evans and mezzo-soprano Melanie Marshall. Actors Bill Paterson and Tamsin Greig read the Easter Story from the King James Bible.

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