AN AMAZON advert before Christmas, which featured a priest and an imam, has been shortlisted for the Radio Times Readers’ Award within the annual Sandford St Martin Awards for excellence in religious broadcasting. It is the first time that an advert has been shortlisted for the prize.
The 80-second video, first broadcast on ITV in November, shows the Vicar of Little Venice, west London, the Revd Gary Bradley, and the Principal of the Muslim School at Oadby, in Leicester, Imam Zubeir Hassam, shopping online for knee-pads for each other, after joking about how their prayers gave them sore joints (News, 18 November).
Writing in the Radio Times last week, the chairman of the Sandford St Martin Trust, the Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Revd Nick Baines, who agreed the shortlist, praised the advert: “When Amazon aimed at our wallets via our hearts this Christmas, they did so even more boldly, offering a positive message of religious friendship when so much of what we see on screen shows Christians and Muslims in opposite corners of the boxing ring. . .
“In the real world there are hundreds of stories of genuine friendship between vicars and imams. So, the assumption that religious people are always at each other’s throats is seen to be the nonsense that it is.”
It was one of seven programmes to be shortlisted for the Radio Times award this year, including the documentary A World Without Down’s Syndrome? on BBC2, in which the actor Sally Phillips, whose son has Down’s syndrome, explores the moral issues that arise when a child is diagnosed with the condition.
Other shortlisted programmes were The Big Questions, with Nicky Campbell, on BBC1; Muslims Like Us, on BBC2; The Battle for the Soul of Christianity, on BBC1; In the Footsteps of Judas (presented by the Revd Kate Bottley), on BBC1; and PM, on Radio 4, with Eddie Mair and Steve Hewlett.
Viewers and listeners can vote for their favourite online at radiotimes.com/sandford. Voting closes on 23 May. The winner will be announced at the Sandford St Martin Awards held at Lambeth Palace on 7 June.