BBC accused of ‘abandoning Christianity’ after axing traditional Easter service broadcast

BBC accused of ‘abandoning Christianity’ after axing traditional Easter service broadcast

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GB News
Oliver Trapnell

By Oliver Trapnell


Published: 30/03/2024

- 11:11

The programme has been a staple of the broadcaster for more than a decade

The BBC has been accused of “abandoning” Britain’s Christian faith after it made the decision to axe a traditional Easter service broadcast.

The programme, which would have broadcast a traditional religious service from King’s College, Cambridge, was dropped in favour of religious coverage elsewhere across the broadcaster’s platforms.


King’s College Easter service has been a staple of the BBC lineup for more than a decade, having been shown on television since 2010.

Following the decision, critics have accused the BBC of deliberately abandoning its Christian audience.

Chief executive of Christian Concern Andrea Williams told the Telegraph: “The BBC’s motto, ‘Nation shall speak peace unto nation’, is Biblical in origin.

“The more the BBC seeks to forget and minimise the primary role of the Christian faith shaping this nation, the darker all things will become.

“Easter reminds us of Christ’s victory over death, which is a good-news message for us all.”

BBC office and traditional Easter service

BBC accused of ‘abandoning Christianity’ after axing traditional Easter service broadcast

Getty Images/BBC

However, the BBC has rejected claims that it has ignored the Christian faith after dropping its Easter service.

According to the broadcaster, the Faith and Hope for Spring 2024 season will feature a “vibrant mix of programmes across TV and radio channels, shining a spotlight on faith at a time when many of the major religions are marking key moments in the calendar”.

Both of the BBC’s heads of religion and ethics for television and radio have said the broadcaster’s output will feature a “diverse range of content” for watchers and listeners.

Daisy Scalchi, head of religion and ethics on BBC Television, said: “This is such a special time of year and we’re delighted to work across our networks to bring viewers a diverse range of content that brings faith, belief and spirituality into focus.”

Tim Pemberton, the head of religion and ethics on BBC Audio, said: “I’m delighted to be bringing listeners such a wide range of special programming, with opportunities for worship and reflection, as well as some wonderful music.”

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Traditional Easter Service from King's College, Cambridge

Traditional Easter Service from King's College, Cambridge

BBC

This year, the BBC is set to show a special performance of Bach’s St John Passion from Cardiff on BBC One on Easter Sunday, Pope Francis’s Easter message and blessing and a special edition of Songs of Praise from Canterbury.

Radio listeners will also have the chance to hear a Choral Evensong live from Canterbury Cathedral on Radio 3 and a Sunrise Service from Durham Cathedral on Radio 4.

Speaking about the story on GB News’ Headliners, Nick Dixon suggested the BBC has been “gradually erasing Christianity for decades”.

He said: “I've been renouncing Christians for decades, so it's ‘BBC abandoned Christianity after dropping traditional Easter service broadcast’, which they normally broadcast from Kings College, Cambridge.

“In addition to that, just as an extra little bit of salt in the wound, they, Alice Roberts, an atheist, was on the Good Friday edition of Desert Island Discs and chose not to take a Bible with her to the fictitious island. So instead, you know, they're not showing the usual thing.”

He added: “So, you know, enjoy Islam or enjoy this secular dystopia you're going to get as it is Christianity that made this country great.

“And now you're gonna get just awfulness. This is nothing new though. Read something like Peter Hitchens’s Rage Against God, they've been gradually erasing Christianity for decades.”

GB News\u2019 Headliners

Nick Dixon and Josh Howie discussing the story on GB News’ Headliners

GB News

Adding his voice, Josh Howie said: “I think this desert island this thing is a really bad decision, the singing thing for the Easter service from Kings College.”

He continued: “I will say the BBC is of course there to reflect the audience. So there's a question here - Are they cutting these? They are actually.

“They do have a lot of other Christian programmes or Easter programmes, to be fair. But is it because they're taking their lead from the fact that there are less Christians now, which has been proven it's in decline? Or there's the other idea, of course, that is the decline in the programmes leading to a decline in Christianity.

“So really it's a chicken or the Easter egg.”

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