Thought for the Day
||The neutrality of this article is disputed. (September 2010)|
||This article needs additional citations for verification. (December 2010)|
|Running time||2 minutes, 45 seconds|
|Home station||BBC Radio 4|
|Audio format||Stereophonic sound|
|Website||Thought for the Day homepage|
|Podcast||Thought for the Day podcast|
Thought for the Day is a daily scripted slot on the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 offering "reflections from a faith perspective on issues and people in the news", broadcast at around 7.45 each Monday to Saturday morning. Nowadays lasting 2 minutes and 45 seconds, it is a successor to the more substantial five-minute religious sequence Ten to Eight (1965–1970) and, before that, Lift Up Your Hearts, which was first broadcast five mornings a week on the BBC Home Service from December 1939, initially at 7.30, though soon moved to 7.47. The programme is broadcast by religious thinkers; often, these are Christian thinkers, but there have been numerous occasions where representatives of other faiths, including Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism, have presented "Thought for the Day".
Notable contributors to the slot have included major religious figures including Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and Pope Benedict XVI. Major British rabbis to have contributed include Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks of the United Synagogue movement and Lionel Blue of the World Union for Progressive Judaism.
Other contributors include Anne Atkins, Jonathan Bartley, Alan Billings, John L. Bell, Rhidian Brook, Tom Butler, Giles Fraser, Richard Harries, James Jones, Colin Morris, Mona Siddiqui, Michael Banner, Indarjit Singh, Elaine Storkey, and Angela Tilby.
 List of presenters
 Pope Benedict XVI
After months of negotiation between the Vatican and the BBC, Pope Benedict XVI recorded a 'Christmas message especially for the UK', which was broadcast as the Thought for the Day on 24 December 2010. The broadcast followed the Pope's visit to the United Kingdom earlier in the year. In the message, he claimed to be fond of Britain and asked listeners to consider Jesus's birth. The National Secular Society had criticised the BBC for giving the Pope a chance to "whitewash" the Catholic Church's record on Catholic child sexual abuse. The message was a "damp, faltering squib", commented biologist and atheist Professor Richard Dawkins on the Comment is Free webpages of The Guardian newspaper.
 Other versions and adaptations
The Radio 4 Thought for the Day format has been copied onto some other BBC channels, notably local radio. An example is BBC Radio Suffolk's morning show that hosts a Thought for the Day at approximately 7:30. Suffolk's programme differs from the national broadcast in that it is only 1 minute and 45 seconds long. Another difference is that it draws from a more diverse religious base, even including a regular pagan speaker, possibly reflecting the strong interfaith movement in the station's home town of Ipswich. (See Suffolk Interfaith Resource.) BBC Radio Leicester, too, has a daily Thought for the Day (See  Suffolk Daily thought for the day). slot, broadcast live at 6:45 and repeated at 7:45. There is a "pick of the week" re-broadcast on Sunday morning. Speakers are drawn from a wide spectrum of Christian churches, and there is substantial representation from the Muslim, Hindu, and occasionally, Jain, communities. But here, contributors are restricted to a mere 90 seconds of broadcast time, which many feel is too short. BBC Radio 2 broadcasts a similar spot on weekday mornings called "Pause for Thought".
In 2002, 102 people put their names to a letter to the BBC Governors, drawn up by the British Humanist Association, the National Secular Society, and the Rationalist Press Association. This protested that the slot was available only to religious views. As a consequence, Professor Richard Dawkins from Oxford University was given a two-and-a-half minute slot to deliver a reflection from an atheist viewpoint, although this was not broadcast in the Thought for the Day slot itself. The Editors of the BBC World Service's version of the same strand Pause for Thought, were not so dogmatic about contributions and between 1997-2002, over 20 secular thought pieces were recorded with Chris Templeton, Nicholas Walter and Anthony Grey. However, the BBC commented that it wanted to keep Thought for the Day a unique offering of a faith perspective within an otherwise entirely secular news programme. In response to this decision by the BBC the Humanist Society of Scotland created their own programme 'Thought For The World' to accommodate these non-religious views. The last secular Pause for Thought was recorded for BBC World Service in 2002.
- "BBC - Religion and Ethics - Programmes". BBC. Retrieved 2008-01-15.
- Pope thanks UK with Radio 4 Thought for the Day address, David Willey, BBC News, 24 December 2010.Accessed: 24 December 2010.
- "Pope to deliver Thought For The Day on Christmas Eve". BBC. 22 December 2010. Retrieved 23 December 2010.
- A shameful Thought for the Day, Prof Richard Dawkins, 24 December, 2010.Accessed: 24 December 2010.
- "Richard Dawkins' Alternative Thought for the Day". BBC Radio 4. BBC. 2002-08-14. Retrieved 2008-02-29.
- "Atheist gives Thought for the Day". BBC News website (BBC). 2002-08-14. Retrieved 2008-01-15.