BBC unveils new round of religious programming

The BBC has revealed its plans for religious programming over the next twelve months.

In one of the highlights, In Pilgrimage: The Road to Rome, a group of celebrities have been filmed on pilgrimage together culminating in a private audience with Pope Francis.

The celebrities, including the game show host, Les Dennis, Debbie McGee, Katy Brand, Lesley Joseph and Christian singer Dana Scallon, will make the journey from the Swiss Alps to Rome finishing up with the private audience with the Pope.

The series will be shown on BBC Two over the next twelve months as will The Satanic Verses: 30 Years On which examines the lasting effect of the controversial book on Britain and British Muslims.

At Easter, Aled Jones will present two special editions of Songs Of Praise in the Holy Land, on Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday.

Other programmes include Inside The Vatican on BBC Two and Welcome To The Bruderhof which will offer insight into a Christian community who live together in a village on the outskirts of Hastings as disciples of Jesus, exploring their simple way of life which is at odds with mainstream society.

According to the BBC, "The Year of Beliefs 2019 will bring Religion and Ethics programming to as wide an audience as possible, airing ambitious landmark series with privileged access, powerful documentaries highlighting big moral questions, spiritual journeys of self-discovery and thought-provoking discussions and debates."

The Director of BBC Content, Charlotte Moore said: "With the Year of Beliefs we want to capture the complex variety of faiths and beliefs in modern Britain. Not only do we continue to offer our audiences a place they can celebrate and share their own personal beliefs, but we also want to help them understand better the meaning of other faiths and beliefs as well as exploring important ethical issues that impact so many people’s lives.

"I am excited at the breadth of content across 2019 and I hope it inspires all our audiences and brings them a fresh insight into the fast changing world we live in."

The BBC's Director of Radio & Education, James Purnell said: "We’ll be shining a light on what Britain believes in today through new commissions, appointing a Youth Panel to work with well-established programmes across radio, and exploring a complex range of issues affecting people’s lives - from IVF to being single.

"With radio’s unique ability to bring stories alive, our audiences will hear Jeremy Irons read The Psalms on Radio 4 at Easter, and I hope that throughout the year we’ll offer a place for people to pause and reflect on the world around them, with our content."

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