Religious Programming

Christians! Jews! Muslims! Hindus! Buddhists! Jains! Jehovah’s Witnesses! Mormons! Pagans! Rastafarians! Santeria Afro-Caribbeans! Shintos! Sikhs! Taos! Zoroastrians! You’re all stupid and wrong! All religious people are daft!

If you’re taking umbrage with that sentiment, or indeed, thinking of finding out where I live so you can poke me with a sharp object until all my blood falls on the floor… or even thinking of tutting at me until I snap and top myself… don’t.

You see, religion is much bigger and stronger than some jerk-off TV critic like me who likes winding people up. The fact is, religion would be incredibly weak and feeble if all its followers were compelled to write a rebuttal in the comments of every article that said religion is just a big pile of stupid wouldn’t it? Wouldn’t it?

I tell you what, as pay-off, here’s some junk about religion that’s going to be cluttering up the box come Chocolates and Rabbit Week (aka ‘Easter’).

Yessum, this Easter, the BBC are claiming to be showing “the true meaning of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ through documentaries, live worship and sacred music”.

For you nutjobs/people who listened but didn’t learn in school, you’ll be able to watch a special service from Kings College Cambridge, Easter At Kings, which will feature music from the world-famous Chapel Choir of King’s College plus a series of readings to mark the Easter Story.

On BBC One, for Holy Week, Nicky Campbell investigates what it means to be a Christian in Britain today in Are Christians Being Persecuted? Well, yes. In print at least. Call it revenge for the crusades.

Going behind the headlines to explore a number of high-profile legal cases, the documentary asks some searching questions about the changing nature of how Christianity and Christians are viewed in our society.

The Day That Jesus Died, on Good Friday, asks what is the meaning of Christ’s death on the cross? In Judaism, death by crucifixion is seen as a defeat; in Islam it is seen as a humiliation. So why in Christianity is it seen as a victory?

Featuring a series of interviews with leading Christian figures such as Rowan Williams, John Sentamu and Tom Wright among others, the programme attempts to uncover the real meaning of Good Friday.

On Easter Day, Easter Worship this year will come from Winchester Cathedral, where the principal celebrant will be the Dean of Winchester – The Very Reverend James Atwell – and the sermon will be given by the Bishop of Winchester – The Right Reverend Michael Scott-Joynt.

In The First Easter: A Songs Of Praise Special, Aled Jones travels to the Holy Land to discover what life was like for those who witnessed the first Easter Day. There’s festive music from Tel Aviv choir Sirenot and vocalist Riki Neeb who works as a gardener at the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem.

BBC Two celebrates Easter through music and art. Music featured in Easter At Kings includes Ave Verum Corpus (Mozart), Panis Anglicus (Franck), Hallelujah Chorus (Handel) and O Vos Omnes (Casals).

And Private Life Of An Easter Masterpiece explores The Descent From The Cross by Rogier van der Weyden, which has been delighting art lovers for hundreds of years. Susie Nash, Head of the Renaissance Section of the Courtauld Institute Of Art in London, describes it as “the greatest work of northern art of the 15th century and certainly the most influential”, but what is the secret history of this world-renowned painting?

Private Life Of An Easter Masterpiece delves into the turbulent times of this iconic portrayal of Christ, charting its history from its inception and rise to fame, to reportedly surviving a shipwreck and in more recent times becoming one of the first paintings to be featured on Google Earth. Will they tackle the thorny issue of ‘Why Is Jesus Always Painted As A White Man’? Who knows?

And finally, BBC One will transmit the tradition Easter message from mad ol’ bastard, Pope Benedict XVI rapping in Latin or whatever it is he does.

Don’t worry – next bout of religious programming that is dedicated to a group that isn’t Christian, in the interests of fairness, I’ll stick the shoe in on them as well. It’s all about balance, see?

  • BBC One
  • BBC Two
  • BBC Three
  • ITV1
  • ITV2
  • 4
  • E4
  • Film4
  • More4
  • Five
  • Fiver
  • Sky1