Talent and quality win through

Sandford St Martins

For the second year running readers of Radio Times voted Anglican vicar, Peter Owen Jones, their favourite – this time in his worldwide search for and participation in 80 expressions of faith.  Around the World in 80 Faiths was produced by BBC Religion and Ethics and broadcast on BBC1.

The search for raw talent amidst the run-down Manchester estate of Harpurhey won the Trust’s Premier award for religious television with Miracle on the Estate made by BBC Religion and Ethics and broadcast on BBC 1 on Good Friday 2008.  Tim Gardam, chair of judges, said it “drew its viewers into the lives of others by the artless authenticity of the characters on the estate”, as, guided by a poet, a composer and a producer they constructed, rehearsed and performed a play about Noah and the flood.

By contrast, professional excellence was the hallmark of the Premier religious radio winner, Tested, episode 4 of the collaborative series Witness, broadcast on Radio 4.  Nick Warburton’s dramatisation, based on the gospel of Luke, was “brilliantly acted and directed” and followed by a feature examining aspects of the story which was “a fine complement” to the play, said Gillian Hush.

Television runners-up were episode 3 of The Passion, Frank Deasy’s dramatisation of Jesus’ trial and death, shown on BBC1, and Antony Thomas’s exploration of the history and importance of The Qur’an, broadcast on Channel 4.  The Merit prize was awarded to the Channel 4 programme which examined the scourge of superstition in Africa, Saving Africa’s Witch Children.

Radio’s runner-up was Christmas Awakening, personal reflections by a poet, a musician and a minister on Christmas, broadcast on BBC Scotland, and the merit awards went to Heart and Soul: Fatwas, a BBC World Service programme explaining the real meaning of fatwas, and to Let Us Pod – Bereavement, a personal reflection originally made for the Roman Catholic diocesan of Clifton website, subsequently broadcast on BCfm Community Radio for Bristol.

Presenting the awards, the Trust’s new Chairman, the Bishop of Croydon, Nick Baines, urged broadcasting commissioners to take seriously the place of religious programmes in their schedules.  “Contrary to some of the simplistic caricatures we frequently encounter, good religious broadcasting is not about massaging the prejudices or affections of a few odd people who do odd things; rather, it involves taking people and the world seriously”. 

The Qur’an
Broadcast on Channel 4 on 14 July 2008 (Juniper).  Executive Producer: Samir Shah; Producer/Director/Writer: Antony Thomas
A journey through the Muslim world to discover how a text that inspires peace and tolerance for the majority can also allow a minority to find justification for violent conflict and terrorism.

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