Songs of Praise viewers have hailed an episode filmed at the so-called 'The Jungle' migrant camp in Calais as “inspirational” and “humane”, after the BBC was criticised for featuring the camp at the centre of the on-going border crisis in the French port town.
The niche programme, which presents Christian hymns each Sunday, was cast into the public eye earlier this month when the Daily Express heavily criticised the BBC for using the license fee to film from migrant camp, with Conservative MP Andrew Rosindell accusing the BBC of being “insensitive”.
The BBC was later forced to defend its decision to film segments of the programme from a St Michael’s Church.
However, as the episode aired on Sunday afternoon, dozens of viewers took to Twitter to praise the broadcaster’s idea.
Thousands of migrants live in the camp outside Calais, after fleeing bloody conflicts in nations including Afghanistan, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, as well as oppressive regimes in countries such as Eritrea.
Many said they were watching the programme for the first time ever, and thanked the programme for humanising the migrants who have been widely vilified in the media.
One woman directly quoted Prime Minister David Cameron, who in a recent interview with the BBC defended describing the migrants as a “swarm”.
Another Twitter user criticised the BBC, which is required to remain impartial, for not condemning the bleak reality migrants face in Calais more strongly.
Delighted #SongsofPraise followed report from refugee camp in Calais with the wonderful hymn 'There's a wideness to God's mercy.'— Fiona Haworth (@HaworthFiona) August 16, 2015
That little church in the asylum-seekers' camp in Calais is heartbreaking. I respect the makers of #SongsOfPraise for that humane report.— Sally Lewis (@Sallyapiacere) August 16, 2015
Religion is not my thing but just watched #SongsofPraise for the Calais camp footage - moving stuff. Good job BBC. I'm off to the pub!— Amanda Ferguson (@AmandaFBelfast) August 16, 2015
Will be interesting to heard viewing figures for todays #SongsofPraise !! Lots of friends tuning in for 1st time since childhood in support— learningtofloat (@learningtofloat) August 16, 2015
Watching #songsofpraise for the first time in about 20 years! V proud and moved they went to St Michael's chapel, the 'Jungle', Calais.— Bryony Taylor (@vahva) August 16, 2015
Well done to #SongsofPraise for broadcasting from Calais and for humanising the refugees. Jesus would have been the first down there...— Becky Dell (@beckylucydell) August 16, 2015
if anything #SongsofPraise was too balanced a bit of righteous anger at the plight of those amongst us who have least wouldn't go a miss— BLTP (@Gargarin) August 16, 2015
The show aired after it emerged that the number of migrants trying to get into the Eurotunnel terminal near Calais has fallen to as few as 100 a night, according to the operator.
At the end of July, some 2,000 migrants were attempting to break into the tunnel each to reach Britain.
However, the number has dropped dramatically after security was stepped up at the port, the Eurotunnel said.
Additional reporting by PAReuse content