Songs of Praise to change format as part of relaunchCaroline Wyatt

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By Caroline Wyatt
Religious affairs correspondent, BBC News
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Songs of Praise will now feature a broad range of Christian denominations

The BBC’s flagship worship show, Songs of Praise, is updating its programme as part of a relaunch.

From Sunday it will drop its traditional format of an Anglican service recorded in a cathedral, parish, or other church.

Each edition will now feature a range of churches, locations, congregations, and choirs.

The BBC’s head of religion and ethics, Aaqil Ahmed, said a “different form of Christianity” had emerged in the UK.

The show will also change to a magazine format that reflects what the programme describes as the reality of Christian faith across the country.

Inclusive programme

This is not the first makeover for Songs of Praise – which was created in 1961.

Over the years, the face of Christianity in Britain has changed significantly, along with the UK’s population, and the programme’s audience has aged. It is now in its mid-70s.

In contrast, increased immigration – for example from Eastern Europe – has led to the growth of younger congregations, such as those at Catholic churches and at Pentecostal and black majority churches.