The annual Sandford St Martin Awards (for excellence in religious broadcasting) will be presented at Lambeth Palace on Monday 3 June 2013. The shortlisting was not easy this year and the quality of submitted radio and television programmes was very high. A nice problem to have. Here's the list:
ANGELIC VOICES: The Choristers of Salisbury Cathedral (Wingspan Productions for BBC FOUR)
This film follows Salisbury Cathedral's choristers as they go about their daily lives, discovering their history and singing some of the most loved music under the direction of choir master David Halls.
ARENA: SISTER WENDY AND THE ART OF THE GOSPEL (CTVC for BBC 2)
Sister Wendy Beckett became a star when she travelled the world telling us the story of Christian art, but revealed little of her own extraordinary story. This programme seeks out the 'real' Wendy, who, at 82, talks frankly, humorously, and profoundly about her life and spirituality for the first time.
DAVID SUCHET: IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF ST PAUL (CTVC and Jerusalem Trust (Episode 1) for BBC ONE)
St Paul transformed the fledgling Jesus movement into a new global faith. In this programme, David Suchet takes a very personal journey to uncover how an obscure Jewish sect from the edge of the Roman Empire became the dominant force in Western civilisation.
GOODBYE TO CANTERBURY (BBC Factual Arts for BBC TWO)
This film makes public Archbishop Rowan’s reflections as he leaves office and says a public last farewell to the cathedral that was his HQ and home for the past 10 years. Beginning with the saving of the cathedral from German bombs in 1942 he delves back in time to reflect upon the historical and spiritual influence of this “mother church of England”.
ISLAM: THE UNTOLD STORY (Maya Vision for CHANNEL FOUR)
Historian Tom Holland explored the origins of Islam. His journey led him to an exploration of a very contemporary fault-line: the one that runs between science and religion, history and faith.
THE HIDDEN ART OF ISLAM (Quicksilver Media / BBC Religion & Ethics for BBC FOUR)
At the British Museum a collection of artefacts from the Muslim world includes an art form not usually associated with Islam: portraits, depictions of human figures and tableaux showing pilgrims performing the most important pillar of the Muslim faith. Rageh Omaar sets out to find if human depiction is the source of controversy, which forms of art are acceptable for a Muslim and why this artistic tradition has thrived.
THE PRESTON PASSION (BBC Religion and Ethics / BBC Drama for BBC ONE)
Fern Britton presents this ambitious project involving 3,500 residents of the Lancashire town creating a Passion play with a difference. All intercut with three pre- recorded dramas — Pilate, Mary and Jesus — based on in Preston past and present.
STRICTLY KOSHER (ITV Studios for ITV 1)
Chris Malone’s affectionate portrait of Jews living in Manchester – hailed by critics and audiences alike. It explores life in Manchester's Jewish community featuring family, food and festivals. From footballing rabbis to Holocaust survivors, rag trade entrepreneurs to Jewish mothers, this series stitched together a tapestry of experiences to create a picture of life today for Britain’s observant — and not so observant — Jews.
WESTMINSTER ABBEY (BBC Religion & Ethics for BBC TWO (Episode 1))
This programme took a behind-the-scenes look at one of Britain’s most historic institutions. Each episode explored the inner workings of the Abbey, following clergy, choirboys and lay people including a plumber, librarian and Press Office “tweeter.
4thought.tv 2nd series Anti Semitism (Waddell Media for CHANNEL FOUR)
This series seeks to reflect upon and address matters of faith seriously and each of the speakers was a passionate believer. A powerful insight into issues of anti- semitism.
ALL THINGS CONSIDERED – GET ME TO GETHSEMANE (BBC Radio Wales)
Focusing on one woman’s journey, this programme tells how Gauri Taylor-Nayar’s dying husband urged her to lead Cathays Community Methodist Choir as a focus after his death. “Get me to Gethsemane” tells the story of the choir’s preparations for a performance, Gauri’s bereavement, music and faith, and the moment she realised what Gethsemane had to teach about the Resurrection.
BLASPHEMY AND THE GOVERNOR OF THE PUNJAB (Goldhawk for BBC Radio 4)
Following the case of Asia Bibi, a Punjabi Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy, Goldhawk discovered that being accused in Pakistan is enough to put you in prison, and many face death threats despite no trial. They wanted Salman Taseer, governor of Punjab and blasphemy law campaigner, to front the programme, until he was gunned down in a parking lot. This programme tells the story.
EASTER AND CHRISTMAS DIARIES (BBC Radio Four Extra)
An innovative real-time telling of the passion story in bite-sized dramas across the preceding week, told by well-known characters and those on the edge of the story. From the disciples talking about trouble in the Temple, to Mary, mother of Jesus, describing the crucifixion, the passion story is made real.
ECHOES OF EASTER (West Sound Radio)
Fifteen different episodes “from our reporter on the spot in Jerusalem” interviewing the many characters caught up in the drama of the Crucifixion.
ERIC LIDDELL; THE SPIRIT LIVES ON (BBC Radio Scotland)
Eric Liddell, famous Scot, Olympic hero who would not run the Olympics on a Sunday because of his faith but went on to win gold. This programme hears from those few remaining who knew Eric in Weihsien and whose faith has been influenced by his memory.
THE ESSAY; THE CASE FOR DOUBT (CTVC for BBC Radio 3)
Five contributors make a case for doubt, political, religious, scientific and self-doubt. This programme focuses on religious doubt, by scientist and author Madeline Bunting.
HEARING RAGAS (BBC Bristol for Radio 4)
Hearing Ragas is about the near death experience, altered perceptions of the Divine through suffering, and the power of music to reach us in inexplicable ways. It is violinist Prof Paul Robertson’s remarkable story of the India ragas he heard from within a coma, and the healing effect Sir John Tavener’s music had in his recovery.
HEART & SOUL : CANADA REAL (A & M North for BBC World Service)
Canada Real is a dirty, drug-infested shanty town just 30 miles from Madrid. But deep inside the Canada, just off the dusty road where dealers conduct their business through car windows, is a church, home to Padre Augustin, parish priest of the Canada. John Laurenson meets him and sees how he offers hope to the people.
HEART AND SOUL; JAPAN, HOPE AMID THE CHAOS (CTVC for BBC WORLD SERVICE)
As the first anniversary of Japan’s devastating tsunami approaches, Reporter Gerry Northam tells how the Shinto faith of the bereaved and homeless has been tested, and how they are stoic in the face of such terrible circumstances.
THE PARABLE OF THE SOWER (BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio Drama, London)
Testament stories revisited and set in present day pre-Christmas London, introduced by Rev Dr Giles Fraser. Tom Wells sets the Parable of the Sower in a Secondary School lunchtime science club, where Ellie D is inspired to test the parable using cress.
THE PULSE PASSION (The Pulse, Whistling Frog Productions)
A series of short drop-ins made for the Pulse of West Yorkshire using personal testimonies based on five major themes from the passion story
On Remembrance Sunday Anna Magnusson hears from those who experienced the Arctic Convoys and the people who witnessed the drama off Scotland’s shores: stories that seek to capture the enormity of the sacrifices made and express the heartbreaking tenderness the shared humanity of compassion and loss.