THE BBC has unveiled its Easter programme schedule for this year: a mix of music and services with the now ubiquitous celebrity reality-show format.
Two special episodes of Songs of Praise will be broadcast from the Holy Land, with Aled Jones accompanying young Christians as they visit holy sites for the first time. On Easter Day, Songs of Praise will come from Jerusalem, and will feature the faith stories of the musical theatre star Shaun Escoffery and the soprano Laura Wright.
The choirmaster Gareth Malone will explore Easter traditions in the UK in a two-part programme, Britain’s Easter Story, to be shown on Good Friday and Easter Day.
A new three-part series, Pilgrimage: The road to Rome, follows the same format as a previous series that turned celebrities into modern-day pilgrims following the Camino de Santiago. This new series, which starts today, follows the actor Les Dennis, dancer Brendan Cole, and athlete Greg Rutherford, and others, as they walk 1000km of the Via Francigena to Rome. When they arrive in St Peter’s Square in the final episode, on Good Friday, they are granted a private audience with the Pope.
The Easter from King’s service will feature the “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s Messiah and a Crucifixus by Antonio Lotti. There will also be a live Easter service from St Mary’s, Warwick, and a broadcast of Pope Francis’s Easter Day message.
BBC Radio highlights include a Good Friday Meditation on Radio 4 at 3 p.m., which reflects on Psalm 22 through readings, music, and personal stories, including a guest reader, Maxine Peake; and a four-part special, The Psalms, read by Jeremy Irons, starts after the Meditation.
Radio 4’s Thought for the Day on Good Friday, will be given by the Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Sarah Mullally.
Two Easter services will be broadcast live from Southwell Cathedral. Radio 4 will broadcast Easter Day Worship (lighting of the Easter fire and holy communion) at 8.10 a.m., and choral evensong at 3 p.m. will be on Radio 3.
The head of Specialist Factual commissioning for the BBC, Tom McDonald, said: “We are excited to bring viewers a range of programmes to celebrate the Christian calendar’s most important date. Easter is a time of thoughtfulness, introspection and also great joy, and we will be reflecting that across our