Letter: Praise be for the BBC

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Sir: Channel 4's Religious Editor, Nicholas Fraser, is welcome to solicit publicity for his new series Witness ('Prime-time religion to hit Channel 4', 28 July), but it is nonsense to say the BBC is marginalising religious programmes.

The BBC's religious department provides a range of accessible, high quality religious programmes: over 500 hours of radio, over 120 hours on BBC1 and from next year, more programmes than ever before on BBC2.

In contrast, Channel 4 manages barely one hour a week, a margin so narrow that the slightest expansion appears to double the width.

It is also not true to say that 'the BBC is locked into an outdated view of religion centred on the Church of England'. Songs of Praise regularly tours all denominations and we mark the major festivals of non- Christian faiths, this year making six special programmes for Ramadan. Everyman and Heart of the Matter take a very broad view of moral and spiritual issues in the modern secular world and are rewarded by audiences that might be the envy of many Channel 4 series.

Yours faithfully,


Head of Religious Broadcasting,

BBC, Manchester