From Mr Dominic Crossley-Holland
Sir, — I read with interest and some dismay Gillean Craig’s television
last week. He wrote that he watched both Pope John Paul II’s funeral and
Charles and Camilla’s wedding on BBC1 because “it offered the wider coverage.
These are, after all, the kind of flagship events that the corporation is
supposed to do better than anybody else.”
I’m sorry if Gillean Craig didn’t catch any of the three-and-a-quarter
hours of live coverage produced by ITV News and presented by Alastair Stewart
in London and James Mates in Rome.
The feedback we’ve had suggests that the commentary team provided the most
detailed explanation of the meaning behind the liturgy, and that the use of a
wide variety of sources (from the immensely moving scenes in Cracow to pictures
from across the UK) meant that ITV’s coverage was highly comprehensive.
In addition, the sensitive and distinctive use of archive and expert
analysis helped manage to capture the solemnity of the occasion while also
celebrating the remarkable life of Pope John Paul II.
This is in the week in which we are very proud to have also won the
prestigious Sandford St Martin Award for the best religious programme of 2004.
ITV Controller, Current Affairs,
Arts and Religion
200 Grays Inn Road
London WC1X 8HF
From the Revd Simon Ellis
Sir, — I thought Gillean Craig rather uncharitable in his assessment of the
BBC’s coverage of the funeral of Pope John Paul II. From where I was sitting, I
thought the BBC did a marvellous job, and explained enough about what was going
on during the funeral mass.
Archbishop Vincent Nichols sensitively explained parts of the liturgy, so
that those who followed were not left patronised or uninformed. Many Roman
Catholics are saying it was a success. As for informing us of the names of the
Cardinals and other Christian dignitaries, you have to remember that the BBC
did not generate the footage: it was produced by the Italian-based Rai-Uno and
Vatican TV; so the BBC panel would have had very little time to react to the
pictures on the screen.
May I suggest that if Gillean Craig is to criticise the lack of proper
identification, he should correctly identify the BBC presenter as Huw Edwards,
not Huw Williams.
The Vicarage, Regent Street
Long Eaton NG10 1JX
From Prebendary Eric Shegog
Sir, — In her letter last week,
“Is Songs of Praise the last bastion?”, Kathleen Robertson was concerned
about the lack of religious programmes over Holy Week and Easter. It was not
quite as poor as she thought.
Channel 4 transmitted a one-hour programme at 7 p.m. on Easter Day,
about evil, written and presented by the Bishop of Durham. ITV repeated an
hour’s programme on Easter Sunday morning in which the Opera Babes made a
pilgrimage to the traditional sites in Jerusalem. ITV also repeated a programme
about the Shroud, admittedly rather late. All these programmes were made by The
Churches Television Centre, currently in Bushey, which this year won the
Sandford St Martin Premier Award for religious television.
Non-Executive Director, CTVC
9 Colbron Close, Ashwell
Baldock SG7 5TH