THE broadcaster and journalist Baroness Bakewell is to receive the Sandford St Martin Trustees’ Award for her “outstanding commitment to religious and ethical broadcasting” over six decades.
The Sandford St Martin Trust has been making an annual award for programmes on religion, ethics, and spirituality since 1978. The Trustees’ Award was introduced in 2013 to acknowledge those making a “significant contribution to religious understanding” in the media or the arts.
Joan Bakewell made her television debut in the 1960s, and became the only female presenter of the BBC2 programme Late Night Line-Up. From 1988 to 2000, she presented Heart of the Matter, on BBC1, a programme in which she explored belief and ethics.
A trustee of Sandford St Martin, Roger Bolton, who was her editor on the programme for three years, said that she conducted her interviews with “cool precision, intelligent understanding, and great sympathy for those caught up in difficult dilemmas”.
Lady Bakewell also presented the Radio 3 series Belief, and Radio 4’s Inside the Ethics Committee, and became President of Birkbeck College in April 2013. She is also an opinion writer. She recently wrote in The Sunday Times on anorexia and narcissism.
Mr Bolton said that, as a Labour peer since 2011, she had used “her position in the House of Lords to ensure that its debates about ethics cut to the heart of the matter”.
The award will be presented at Lambeth Palace on 8 June. Lady Bakewell said: “I am enormously pleased to be given this award, which has a tremendous reputation. I think it matters all the more in today’s climate, because we need space where serious ideas can be reflected and discussed.”
Previous winners of the Trustees’ award include Frank Cottrell-Boyce and Danny Boyle, in 2013, for their work on the Olympic Opening Ceremony; and, last year, to the BBC’s Chief International Correspondent Lyse Doucet, for raising the profile of religion in the media.
The Trust’s other broadcasting awards cover a range of genres, including current affairs, arts, music, drama, and comedy, and are open to programmes about any faith. Previous winners have included Ian Hislop, David Suchet, Olivia Colman, Tom Hollander, and Lord Sacks.