BBC Four's blog

The BBC announced today a major new six-part religious series for BBC Four – A History Of Christianity.

Presented by Diarmaid MacCulloch – one of the world’s leading historians and Professor of History of the Church and Fellow at St Cross College Oxford – A History Of Christianity will reveal the true origins of Christianity and delve into what it means to be a Christian.

Intelligent, thought-provoking and magisterial in its scope the series will reveal how a small Jewish sect that preached humility became the biggest religion in the world.

Most Christian histories start with St Paul’s mission to Rome, but Diarmaid MacCulloch argues that the first Christianity stayed much closer to its Middle-Eastern roots.

The series has been commissioned by Janice Hadlow (whilst Controller of BBC Four) and is being made by the BBC’s in-house Religion & Ethics team.

Richard Klein, Controller, BBC Four, says: “A History Of Christianity is engaging, stimulating and, above all, informative, offering the ultimate guide to the origins of the biggest religion in the world.

“It also demonstrates the BBC’s commitment to offering landmark religious programming.”

Executive Producer Jean Claude Bragard adds: “It’s a privilege working with Diarmaid MacCulloch – he is the leading international authority in the history of the Church.”

The films are produced and directed by Gillian Bancroft and Sian Salt.

A History Of Christianity (6 x 60-mintues) will be shown in autumn 2009 on BBC Four and then repeated on BBC Two.

Filming has finished on It’s Only A Theory, an eight x 30-minute entertainment programme for BBC Four that sees highly-qualified professionals and experts submitting their theories about life, the universe and everything for examination by a panel of two comedians and a guest celebrity.

After a thorough interrogation, the panel make a final decision on whether the theory is worth keeping. Topics discussed include can humans live forever and should the welfare of bees be considered more important than global warming?

Devised and hosted by Andy Hamilton (one half of the writing team behind the BBC One sitcom Outnumbered), he’s joined every week by Alabama-born stand-up Reginald D Hunter (Have I Got News For You, QI), of whom The Sunday Times said: “His presence and intelligence make him one of the most brilliantly unpredictable comics in the country.”

Joining Andy and Reginald as guest theory inspectors are Vince Cable, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats; Clare Balding, BBC sports presenter and journalist; Dermot Murnaghan, journalist and sports presenter; Kirsty Wark (Newsnight) and Martha Kearney (Woman’s Hour).

Katie Taylor, Executive Editor, BBC Comedy Entertainment, says: “It’s Only A Theory explores refreshingly new territory for comedy entertainment as Andy and Reg lead us on a comic journey in their quest for knowledge.”

The series is a Hat Trick production for BBC Television, devised by and starring Andy Hamilton (Outnumbered, Have I Got News For You, QI), produced by Adam King (The Friday Night Project, QI) and directed by Paul Wheeler (Have I Got News For You, Jack Dee Live At The Apollo) and Ian Lorimer (QI, Argumental, Never Mind The Buzzcocks).

It’s Only A Theory was commissioned by Katie Taylor. The Series Producer is Giles Pilbrow, the Executive Producers are Richard Wilson (Have I Got News For You, Never Mind The Buzzcocks) for Hat Trick Productions and Katie Taylor for the BBC.

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