BBC religious output drops 20% in one year

The BBC’s religious output has fallen by 20 per cent in one year, according to its latest annual report.

One secularist group welcomed the figures, claiming audiences see religion as unimportant.

But a recent BBC Trust report highlighted a lack of knowledge about religion amongst some BBC staff.


Across the broadcaster’s TV and Radio stations religious programmes amounted to 1,126 hours in the 2012-13 period, down from 1,393 in 2011-12.

Religious output on BBC One decreased by just three per cent, whereas overall radio content fell by a fifth from 1,211 to 975 hours.

And on digital channel BBC Four, the number of hours devoted to religious programmes dropped from 53 hours to five.


Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society said: “It is good that the BBC is taking notice of its audiences at last — who according to its own research don’t regard religion as an important genre and hardly ever watch it.”

The figures were collected for the BBC Annual Report and Accounts 2012-13.

Earlier this month a BBC presenter said Christians who oppose gay marriage are being treated as “throwbacks” by the Corporation’s journalists.

Roger Bolton also said if the BBC interviews a Christian who objects to abortion on religious grounds, “they are treated as though they are just a bit barmy”.


He was taking part in an official BBC Trust review of the breadth of opinion in the broadcaster’s output on various issues, including religion.

The report noted that Christians frequently complain that the BBC tip-toes around the sensitivities of Islam, but happily mocks Christianity.

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