Songs of Praise
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (May 2015)|
|Songs of Praise|
|Created by||Donald Baverstock|
|Presented by||Aled Jones
Diane Louise Jordan
(See full list)
|Theme music composer||Robert Prizeman (1986-)|
|Ending theme||Songs of Praise - Toccata for Organ|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of episodes||2,300 (October 2012)|
|Executive producer(s)||David Taviner (Feb 2014-)|
Rowan Morton Gledhill
|Editor(s)||Matthew Napier (June 2014-)|
|Running time||35 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Religious Programmes Dept, BBC Manchester|
|Original channel||BBC One|
|Original release||1 October 1961- present|
|Songs of Praise|
Presenters and contributors
Presenters of the show have included Geoffrey Wheeler, Michael Barratt, Cliff Michelmore, Sir Harry Secombe, Alan Titchmarsh, Roger Royle, Debbie Thrower, Bruce Parker, Ian Gall, Martin Bashir, Huw Edwards, Eamonn Holmes, Jonathan Edwards and Steve Chalke. Guest presenters have included Sir Cliff Richard, Gavin Peacock, Pete Waterman, Ann Widdecombe and Caron Keating.
It is now usually broadcast at tea time on Sundays and it usually includes congregations from churches and cathedrals singing famous hymns whilst the presenter explores that week's theme. While focusing on hymns, in recent years the shows have become more diverse in its content, typically with a different theme for each show, including special programmes for days such as Remembrance Sunday and celebrating the lives of famous British Christians, including Dame Thora Hird and Sir Harry Secombe. The programme has featured modern Christian artists such as Tim Hughes, Stuart Townend, Lou Fellingham/Phatfish and YFriday.
In October 1962 it moved to 18:50, with the religious discussion programme beforehand. In May 1976 the BBC and IBA announced that Sunday evening would no longer have a set time for religious programmes. The BBC broadcast Songs of Praise ten minutes earlier than previously, but the preceding topical discussion programme.
For many years, the series was replaced during the summer months by other Christian-themed programming. From 1977 until 1993, a selection of hymns from the previous year's shows, linked by Thora Hird reading requests and dedications, was featured in Your Songs of Praise Choice, which changed its name to Praise Be! in the 1980s. Other summer replacements included Home on Sunday (1980–88) and Sweet Inspiration (1993–94).
From 1977 to 1997, it was repeated during the following week, usually on Monday afternoons, initially on BBC1 and later on BBC2. On 3 January 1993 the main programme time moved to 18.25 on Sunday, finishing at 19.00. From January 1996 it moved to 18.10.
Each year since 2003, three consecutive weeks of the programme (usually in April) have been devoted to the 'School Choir of the Year' competition - the first two weeks being semi-finals featuring junior and senior school choirs respectively, with the final of both categories in the third week.
Events have included a 3 October 1982 broadcast from Strangeways Prison (the first time it had broadcast from a prison), a 2 January 1983 broadcast from the Falkland Islands, and a broadcast from St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York.
A competition was held in honor of the 20th anniversary in which people submitted newly written hymns. Fifteen winners were published in a book New Songs of Praise I.
The programme staged its largest event at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on the first Sunday of 2000. A live audience of over 60,000 people came to sing hymns, with a 6,000 piece choir, an orchestra of 100 harps, the band of the Welsh Guards and an anthem specially written by Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber. The programme was produced by John Forrest (Producer-Director). Ian Bradley said the event had a "wonderful vulgarity" but that it also had an "infectious sense of community"
The Easter 2007 edition of the show had been recorded at the same time as the Christmas 2006 edition of the show at Lichfield Cathedral in Staffordshire in order to cut costs - with simple changes in lighting and flowers to reflect the two major services. The Bishop of Lichfield said the early recording was not a "deliberate deceit" but would give "an air of unreality" to the Easter programme, while a BBC spokeswoman said it was "common practice" to film two shows at once due to the costs in setting up lighting rigs, especially in a large cathedral.
Reception and impact
|This section requires expansion. (November 2013)|
In the early 1990s, the weekly viewership of the show was about twenty-five percent of the British population. In 1998, the average viewership was between 5 and 6 million. Because of the long time airing of Songs of Praise following the Sunday evening news, the time slot has become known as the "God slot". The show has been accused of "abandon[ing] its long-standing commitment to straightfoward hymns and 'ordinary' people talking about their often very extraordinary lives and faith and becoming increasingly obsessed with celebrities and soft-focus schmaltz".
The show appeared as a feature within episodes of the BBC comedy television series The Vicar of Dibley in which David Hofstede called the choir auditions for the show one of the great moments of season one,
- "Chinese New Year" BBC website - first appearance in role (promoted from Series Editor) in Credits section
- "D-Day: 70 Years On" BBC website - first appearance in role (promoted from Producer) in Credits section
- BBC: History of Songs of Praise[dead link]
- "Songs of Praise: Celebrating 50 Years". BBC. Retrieved 31 October 2014.
- "The Hitman and Hymn", BBC Press Office, 7 October 2002.
- "Ann's happy to be Strictly a singleton". thisisstaffordshire.co.uk. 5 November 2012. Retrieved 5 November 2012.
- "Meet the Presenters", BBC Songs of Praise website. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
- "Dame Thora Hird obituary", Telegraph, 17 March 2003
- "Home on Sunday", BFI
- "Sweet Inspiration", BFI
- Basile, Salvatore (2010). Fifth Avenue Famous: The Extraordinary Story of Music at St. Patrick's Cathedral. Fordham Univ Press. pp. 270–. ISBN 9780823231898. Retrieved 20 November 2013.
- Rees, Robin (1993-01-01). Weary and Ill at Ease: A Survey of Clergy and Organists. Gracewing Publishing. pp. 45–. ISBN 9780852442319. Retrieved 20 November 2013.
- Bradley, Ian (2007-01-15). Believing in Britain: The Spiritual Identity of 'Britishness'. I.B.Tauris. pp. 225–. ISBN 9781845113261. Retrieved 20 November 2013.
- "BBC defends early Easter filming". BBC News. 26 March 2007.
- Geybels, Hans; Mels, Sara; Walrave, Michel (2009). Faith and Media: Analysis of Faith and Media: Representation and Communication. Peter Lang. pp. 165–. ISBN 9789052015347. Retrieved 20 November 2013.
- Beck, Richard; Worden, David (2002). Truth, Spirituality and Contemporary Issues. Heinemann. pp. 68–. ISBN 9780435306922. Retrieved 20 November 2013.
- Bradley, Ian C. (2005). You've Got to Have a Dream: The Message of the Musical. Westminster John Knox Press. pp. 4–. ISBN 9780664228545. Retrieved 20 November 2013.
- Hofstede, David (2011-11-09). 5000 Episodes and No Commercials: The Ultimate Guide to TV Shows On DVD. Crown Publishing Group. pp. 318–. ISBN 9780307799500. Retrieved 20 November 2013.