THE idea of Christianity is "intermingled with the idea of this
country", Lord Bragg said on Tuesday. He agreed "profoundly" with
the Prime Minister's view of Britain as a Christian country.
Lord Bragg was speaking after he had received a personal award
from the Sandford St Martin Trust at its annual broadcasting awards
at Lambeth Palace.
Christianity, had, "in the deepest sense", defined what this
country's nature would be. He spoke of the programme he had made
about the Bible translator William Tyndale, "the greatest
Englishman who has ever lived".
Despite this, the Sandford St Martin awards acknowledged
religious diversity in Britain. The Story of the Jews,
written and presented by Simon Schama and produced by Oxford Film
and Television for BBC2, won two prizes. "Over the Rainbow",
episode four of the five-part series, in which Professor Schama
considered the fate of the Lithuanian Jews under Nazism, won both
the television award and the Radio Times readers'
One of the television runners-up was A Very British
Ramadan, by Watershed Productions for Channel 4; the other was
Hillsborough: Never Forgotten by BBC Religion and Ethics
The Radio Award was won by I Have a Dream, produced by
BBC Scotland Features for Radio 4. The broadcast had assembled
well-known personalities from around the world (including the Dalai
Lama, recorded in the Himalayas), to read Martin Luther King's 1963
speech on its 50th anniversary.
The radio runners-up award went to Married for a
Minute, produced by the BBC Asian Network, which looked at the
practice of Nikah Mut'ah, temporary marriage, among Shia
The Trust this year introduced a new award for local, community,
and online productions. It was given to Sounds Jewish: The
Jewish Revival in Poland, a podcast produced by JW3: Jewish
Community Centre for London for the Guardian website.
Edward Stourton, who chaired the television judges, praised
programmes that escaped from the ghetto of religious broadcasting.
He was saddened that there was no comedy, no drama, nothing from
ITV or Sky, and a dearth of women's voices. The novelist Patrick
Gale, who chaired the radio judges, praised programmes that "simply
let me listen rather than feel I was being buttonholed".
The Sandford St Martin trustees also made a posthumous award to
the late Sir John Tavener for "the outstanding contribution his
music has made to raising spiritual awareness, building bridges
between people of all faiths and none". Sir Nicholas Kenyon,
presenting the award to Lady Tavener, said that the composer had
looked beyond religious divisions, "trying to capture the harmony
that unites us all".