By continuing your visit to this site, you accept the use of cookies. These ensure the smooth running of our services. Learn more.

Religious Broadcasting?

Last night I watched episode 2 of Rev which I liked better than episode 1, maybe because I knew roughly what to expect.  I still feel it's a bit of a tired format with overdone cliches but it did actually make me laugh a couple of times as well as having its one or two deeper moments.  The overblown happy-clappy but meaningless glib emerging church style vicar, well yes, I did once meet him in Manchester... except he was a Baptist and he was a Methodist (yes, there were two of him).  I did wonder just how many viewers would understand the 'parish share' business and I was miffed at the allusion to large successful churches subsidising little non-profitable ones: my experience is often 'au contraire', but that may reflect a Baptist rather than Anglican context.  The best character must be Colin the lovable rogue who is the medium for the more profound moments; I found the bottom pinching scene with its real questions of how to handle people who don't fit the 'nice middle class' norm of churches quite striking, and the challenge that 'God loves him just as much as he loves you' one we all wrestle with living out.  Maybe, after all, the series is 'growing on me'

Then it was a programme about 7/7 and the questions that raised for people about miracles, coincidences, fate, angels... and the opposite.  The commentary was fairly minimal, linking different speakers, and the range of perspectives varied.  Most of the programme concentrated on survivors and people who became involved in the rescue efforts; towards the end were relatives of people who were killed.  The programme did not offer explanations and managed to avoid any glib conclusions but it did allow people to speak their views.  For some the diversion of the No 30 bus past the BMA was a miracle, for others their survival was down to random decisions to move seats on a train, for yet another her death was down to taking  a train minutes after after her usual one.  No theodicy or 'God of the gaps' hypothesis was attempted, though some speakers offered their own, and the programme ended with one example of how a family had tried to make sense of a loved one's death by founding an eye hospital in India in her memory.  As the titles rolled it emerged that this programme was made by the religious broadcasting part of the BBC, which seemed somehow relevant - late at night, small audience likely, no easy answers to complex questions.

What I am left wondering is how broadcasting of and about religious topics really works and what it achieves?  Scheduling comedy at 10 p.m. on BBC2 or narrative at 11-ish on BBC1 seem to say quite a lot in itself.  Still, at least there still is some on public service broadcasting, and for that we should be grateful


  • I also liked the second episode of Rev I thought some bits of the 'large sucessful charismatic' church were quite amusing and spot on! I'm glad they've decided to use a marginalised character like Colin to show the more profound moments rather than sterotyping him. Although its not so laugh out loud as the vicar of dibley it has redeemable features.
    Thanks for the heads up about 7/7 prgramme might watch it on i-player.

The comments are closed.