10 familiar faces

Christian celebrities such as U2 and Bob Dylan have often been featured in the magazine. Here are 10 other well-known faces who have caused a Buzz in their time. For more from our archives, click here.

  • Even a cursory glance through the history of our magazine reveals a major infatuation with one of the country’s most well-known Christian stars: Cliff Richard. Buzz both wrote about and interviewed the singer countless times throughout the 1970s and 80s. In November 1976, Buzz ran an interview titled ‘Cliff and the Kremlin’ about the singer’s trip to the ‘Communist capital’ of Russia. Cliff was even a regular columnist at one point.
  • Psycho-sexual counselor Maggie Ellis was a popular (if controversial) columnist in the early noughties. Editor at the time John Buckeridge comments, 'Many church leaders wrote to us to say how pleased they were we‘d [featured Maggie] and how often they’d referred to it in different counseling situations. I think quite a lot of church leaders were relieved because they felt it got them off the hook from having to speak from the pulpit about whether practices were appropriate or not...But we were surprised how little outrage from Tunbridge Wells type letters that we got. There were a few but there were a lot more who were pleased we covered subjects a lot of churches considered taboo.'
  • Rumour has it that Tony Blair was one of the signatories of a letter from the Christian Socialist Movement which was published in Buzz at some point in the 1970s. We’ve trawled through the archives but haven’t yet been able to locate it.
  • If the Blair story is apocryphal, then the title of ‘most famous letter writer’ falls to our BBC Radio 2 presenter Simon Mayo. A young Mr Mayo responded to an article Tony Cummings had written about Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s controversial chart topper ‘Relax’. Tony had argued Christians had a responsibility to, ‘seek entertainment and input only from those things that conform to God’s law…If the lyric opposes your faith…don’t play it’. Simon’s letter said (November 1984), ‘I present a three-hour morning show on Radio Nottingham…I do not believe that by playing a record you are condoning the content. My job is not to filter all records through a Christian sieve, but to provide an interesting and balanced programme…If we apply Tony Cummings’ ideas to all areas of the arts, then the Christian ghetto will become darker still.’
  • A fresh faced Steve Chalke graced the cover of the first issue of 21st Century Christian (October 1987) as part of a feature on four of the Baptist church’s ‘bright sparks’ and continued to write a column (initially titled ‘Chalke Talk’) when the magazine became Alpha in 1990. The column continued (under various names) all the way until January 2013. The founder of Oasis caused controversy the following month when he revealed he affirms committed, faithful gay relationships.
  • Sue Ritter’s column ran from 1973 to 1980. One of her most infamous columns was titled ‘Girls – you are weaker!’. It argued the idea of women going to work was ‘not only ridiculous but also unscriptural’. 
  • As further indication that few suspected the crimes of Jimmy Saville, the disgraced television presenter appeared in the June 1972 edition of Buzz. ‘Earlier this year Jimmy Saville said it’s going to be “a great year for Jesus” – and as somebody who can make or break the hit records in today’s chart, he ought to know!’ the article read.
  • Bob Moffet’s Power Page began in May 1980. It was designed to help small groups and had a very successful run, continuing every month until Buzz finished in September 1987.
  • John Buckeridge first joined the team in October 1989 as assistant editor. He later edited the magazine and oversaw its development from 2000 to 2010. Today he oversees the production of Premier Christianity as part of his role as Deputy CEO of Premier. His 26 year stint makes him the longest serving member of the magazine team.
  • Jeff Lucas’ columns began in March 2000 and thanks to popular demand, continue today. This makes him our longest serving columnist!

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