THE TV chef Mary Berry and the Gogglebox vicar, the Revd Kate Bottley, take centre stage in the BBC’s Easter schedule this year.
Mary Berry’s two-part Easter Feast television series began this week, and featured the “Alban bun”, the precursor to the hot-cross bun, which was created by a monk from St Albans Abbey in the 14th century to give away to the poor on Good Friday.
Mrs Berry has a strong Christian faith which, she has said, has helped her through tragedy, including the death of her son, aged just 19, in a car accident. She said on Tuesday that she hoped that the programme would help people understand the meaning of Easter. “People think it’s all hot cross buns and Easter eggs, and a good family get-together. Those are all part of it of course, but I hope that this programme will reach out to people who don’t watch other Easter programmes, and will have a broader appeal to those who enjoy my other programmes and recipes.”
In the second programme next week, she acts as sous-chef to the Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, who cooked her a lamb dish. “It was a wonderful meal, he’s a good cook and such a delightful man,” she said.
Mrs Bottley examines the case against Judas Iscariot in a one-hour documentary, In the Footsteps of Judas, on Good Friday. Earlier in Holy Week, on Tuesday, Professor Robert Beckford examines how immigration is impacting on the Christian faith and tradition in Britain, in The Battle for Christianity.
On Radio 4, there will be a Good Friday meditation from the Shakespeare Hospice in Stratford-on-Avon, the Easter Day service will come live from St Albans Cathedral, and Songs of Praise will feature the Poole Passion. The Archbishop of Canterbury is also contributing a reflection on Thought for the Day.
The BBC’s head of religion and ethics, Aaqil Ahmed, said: “This Easter, the BBC will be providing numerous ways for audiences to watch, listen, and participate in the celebration of this most important date in the Christian calendar.
“Easter Sunday Worship live from St Albans Cathedral and Easter from King’s offer opportunities for the viewers to participate in the joy and renewal which Easter brings, with music and prayer central to this.”