There are a variety of specifically religious programmes on the terrestrial TV channels. These are usually shown on a Sunday, these include programmes such as ‘Jesus 2000’ that is shown every Sunday morning at 11am on ITV, ‘Songs of Praise’ which is aired at 5. 40pm every Sunday on BBC1 and ‘Sunday Morning’ at 11. 02am every Sunday on ITV. These programmes differ in style of presentation because each caters for a different type of audience and because of this they can be categorised. For example, ‘Jesus 2000′ is a cartoon show evidently made for a young audience therefore this programme can be categorised as for children.
Songs of Praise’ however is more concentrated on worshipping, prayer and songs it can be classified as religious hymns. If programmes are categorised in such method there will be a range of religious programmes aimed at different people. One of these is the ‘Vicar of Dibley’, this is a religious comedy programme structured around a female vicar of a small village. Evidence to support that it is a comedy series is pretty clear because it has a laugh track as well as jokes and pranks at all stages of the show. The programme I saw was basically about a couple getting married.
It was to be a simple wedding but due to it being a humorous programme many aspects was changed to look funny. For example, the bride chooses a ridiculous wedding dress. Also at the point were the groom has no ring, he uses Hula Hoops? instead, not to mention the bride’s favourite hymn by the Spice Girls?. The vicar too is very funny. She dyes her hair blonde after she meets a man she likes. In the same way it conveys all the things the residents of the village get up to but around the event of a wedding. The programme, the ‘Heaven ; Earth Show’ is a religious magazine programme and it is aired 10am every Sunday on BBC1.
The programme deals with all sorts of religious issues and it deals with recent issues making the headlines. Two people sitting on a comfortable sofa who introduce each article present it. The article from there on is independent and usually has a narrator talking about the topic. The main topic is usually about the nearest religious event. The programme also deals with moral issues such as abortion and euthanasia but with a religious angle. The issue of the ‘Heaven ; Earth Show’ that I watched was about Easter being celebrated in other countries with extra focus on Holland.
The programme also had an article on the matters of life and death. The article elaborated about people who have had near death experiences and claim to have been in touch with God. By watching a programme like the ‘Vicar of Dibley’, people can see that religion can be fun and enjoyable. Even though it does not concentrate seriously on religion, it does to a point show how religion can be. For example it sheds light on the role of a vicar and how important the vicar can be within a religious community. The programme also shows the church council meetings that show life in church.
A programme like the ‘Vicar of Dibley’ can teach people about the atmosphere in a church. People can watch and learn different aspects of religion that take place in a church and by doing this they will be familiar to religious ideas and not feel as though religious people are cutting other people out. Dispute and conflict can arise when different religious communities are not able to understand each other, religious programmes can show people how religion is involved in life causing the tension to decrease because people understand each other.
A programme like ‘The Heaven ; Earth Show’ portrays all aspects of religion. People can learn about different issues within one religion and the differences or similarities between the other. This show teaches the audience about the most recent religious issues. For example, the constant conflicts in Ireland between Roman Catholics and Protestants. By showing religious programmes on TV, adults and children can be educated about the rich religious heritage of this country. These programmes however are also shown because of the demand for them.
The way in which TV caters for all points of life it also has to cover religion. There are religious people in UK therefore there is demand for such type of programmes these people can relate to. People who are incapacitated cannot go to church and so they can stay at home and watch from the comfort of their own homes. Older people may enjoy these programmes firstly because of their traditional religious beliefs and secondly because they are near the end of their lives. By watching programmes like the ‘The Heaven ; Earth Show’ and ‘Songs of Praise’ and worshipping they can receive some comfort.
Children also watch religious programmes, not necessarily because they are religious. They can watch programmes like a religious cartoon called ‘Jesus 2000’ and even though they may not know it, they are learning about religion indirectly and subconsciously. Even though there are a large number of people who enjoy religious programmes, there are a number of people who will not enjoy them. Firstly they may not be interested in religion at all so have no reason to watch such programmes. Also people of no religious faith will not enjoy religious news, the same can be said with people from ethnic minorities.
A more realistic reason is that the time slots for the religious programmes are not convenient for some people. For example, if a person has to go to work on a morning shift on a Sunday they will not be able to view the programme, and with most religious programmes on Sunday they will have to record them on to tape via a VCR. Most programmes are shown on Sunday because it is the Holy Sabbath. When God created the universe he finished it in 6 days and rested on Sunday, also Jesus rose from the dead on a Sunday. These reasons explain why most religious programmes are shown usually on a Sunday than any other day of the week.