Songs of Praise Marks Sixty Years On-Air
Queen Sends Congratulations
Songs of Praise, the BBC One television show which began in 1961, marked a milestone by completing sixty years of broadcasting over the weekend.
In a pre-recorded video message, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth told the audience:
“For 60 years Songs Of Praise has drawn together congregations and BBC viewers throughout the United Kingdom in collective worship.
“During that time, the programme has shown Christianity as a living faith, not only through hymns and worship songs, but also by featuring the many people who have put their faith at the centre of their lives.
“I congratulate Songs Of Praise and all those involved in the programme on its 60th anniversary.”
According to the BBC, almost 3,000 episodes have aired. Songs of Praise has the distinction of being the longest-running religious programme in broadcasting history.
For the first sixteen years of the show, congregational hymn-singing filled the time-slot but in 1977 it was changed to include stories of faith from members of the local communities from which the broadcast aired.
The show has originated from as far afield as the Falkland Islands in 1982. Its largest congregation gathered in 2000 for the Millennium broadcast, live from the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. There were 65,000 in attendance.
Patrick Holland, BBC Director of Factual, Arts, and Classical Music, said;
“For 60 years, Songs of Praise has held a very special place on BBC One. Never has this been more important than the past year – when as churches had to close their doors, Songs Of Praise continued to bring together people of faith across the UK every Sunday.
“It is a great honour to pay tribute to the world’s longest-running religious television programme – long may it continue.”