The BBC is dominating the 2017 shortlists for the annual Sandford St Martin Awards for religious broadcasting.
In a week when concerns were voiced about the BBC’s potential loss of specialist religious expertise with Avanti Media and Nine Lives Media winning the tender for Songs of Praise, 15 of the 24 productions featured on the prestigious award shortlists for 2017 are made by the BBC.
Announcing the shortlist Rt Rev Nick Baines, Lord Bishop of Leeds, the Trust’s Chairman says, “We are heartened to see such a high calibre and broad range of entries across all categories, with outstanding programmes on TV, radio and online covering many of the challenging issues facing society. This year has also seen an unprecedented number of entries, representing a 25% increase on last year.
“The shortlisting panels were primarily looking for boldness, originality and impact, with presenters and contributors who enlighten as well as entertain and, most importantly, programmes which engage with their target audience.
“With religious broadcasting again the focus of public debate, the work of the Trust and the significance of these prestigious awards is as important as ever.”
The TV award category includes some the year's most talked about television including A World Without Down’s Syndrome (Dragonfly Film and Television) in which actress and writer Sally Phillips examines the implications for society of a new 99% accurate test for Down’s Syndrome, and Children on the Frontline: The Escape (ITN Productions for Channel 4), a powerful film about the Syrian civil war capturing the span of these tragic events.
The Sandford St Martin Awards are designed to promote excellence in religious broadcasting, and to champion distinctive journalism and programming that intelligently interprets the world through a religious lens. The Trust encourages and advocates for religious literacy by researching current trends and attitudes as well as providing training throughout the year.
There are six awards in total, including the Radio Times Faith Award, voted for by their readers, and the coveted Trustees Award. Entries for all the awards are welcomed for programmes exploring religion, ethics and spirituality as lived shapers of individual and community behaviour. The Trust encourages applications in any genre, from news and current affairs to children’s and comedy, as well as specifically ‘religious’ commissions.
The awards recognise all faiths and take entries from any UK region. Judged by a panel of experienced journalists and broadcasters, the selected finalists, and the recipient of the Trustees Award, will be announced in May, with the winners announced on 7 June 2017 at a star-studded ceremony at Lambeth Palace.
THE 2017 SHORTLISTS
TV Award Shortlist
A World Without Down's Syndrome – Dragonfly Film and Television for BBC 2
How To Die: Simon's Choice – Minnow Films for BBC 2
Muslims Like Us – Love Productions/BBC for BBC 2
Children On The Frontline: The Escape – ITN Productions for CH4
Life and Death the Pentecostal Way – BBC Studios (Religion & Ethics) for BBC 2
The Selfless Sikh: Faith on the Frontline – BBC Studios (Religion & Ethics) for BBC 1
Radio Award Shortlist
The Deobandis (Part 2) – BBC Radio Current Affairs for BBC Radio 4
Finding the Light – Production Company: BBC English regions (Religious Affairs) for BBC World Service
For Better or Worse – BBC Scotland Features for BBC Radio 4
Faith or Family – BBC Current Affairs for BBC Radio 4
All Things Considered – Aberfan 50 year anniversary: BBC Wales, Religious Programmes Team for BBC Radio Wales
Canada’s Atheist Minister – BBC Radio Production North for BBC World Service
Interview Award Shortlist
The Briefing Room (Jessie Morton, the jihadi who changed his mind) - BBC Radio Current Affairs for BBC Radio 4
The Doctor of Lampedusa – BBC News for BBC RADIO 4: PM programme
An Extremist in the Family – Dominic Casciani, Home Affairs Correspondent for BBC News
Marilynne Robinson on Fear – BBC Radio Production North for BBC World Service
Out of the Silence – BBC Radio Production North for BBC World Service
Beyond Belief – Marian Partington on Forgiveness BBC Religion & Ethics Radio for BBC Radio 4 –
Children’s Award Shortlist
Ruth's Story – Fettle Animation for Newsround, CBBC
Refugee – CTVC Ltd for TrueTube.co.uk
Blue Peter: The Walk That Changed the World – CBBC Productions for CBBC
Some Father's Son – duckrabbit for Youtube/Facebook/Extreme Dialogue website
Payback – duckrabbit for Youtube/Facebook/Extreme Dialogue website
Shia //Sunni – CTVC Ltd for TrueTube.co.uk
About the Sandford St Martin Trust
The Trust was established by post-war benefactor and Anglican layman, Sir David Wills (1917 – 1999) in 1978. After his initial commitment of funds, the Trust received further support from his son, the late Martin Wills. Additional financial support for the Trust has come from the Dulverton Trust, the Ernest Cook Trust, the Ormonde Trust and the Dick Rees Fund. Dr Catherine Wills, daughter of Sir David Wills, is a trustee of the Sandford St Martin Trust.
The Sandford St Martin Awards were launched in 1978 promoting excellent broadcasting about all faiths, from major networks, independent and online sources at local and national level. The Trust is a powerful advocate for excellence in religious broadcasting and is committed to making the case for creative, thoughtful and entertaining religious programmes.
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