Original religious programming will make up less than four of the BBC’s 300 hours of television output this Christmas, in a move critics have described as “enforced politically correct blindness.”
Ten years ago, the corporation aired eight hours of religious programming on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day alone, twice the amount it now intends to air over a whole seven-day period.
The shows will include Midnight Mass and Carols From Kings on Christmas Eve, as well as an adaptation of On Angels Wings by Michael Morpurgo. There will also be two repeats.
This will equate to less than three per cent of the corporation’s output over the festive period.
Andrea Williams of Christian Concern told the Sunday Express: “Surely it’s not too much to ask that, amongst all the Christmas specials and repeats, our national broadcaster give us some opportunity to remember the events of that first Christmas and their enduring significance?
“It will be tragic if the BBC buries all that out of some misplaced secular anxiety and denies people the chance to reflect on the Christmas message of hope and goodwill.”
Stephen Green from Christian Voice added that the decision shows “an enforced politically correct blindness and multiculturalism,” adding: “Everyone else knows that Christmas is coming but the BBC want to keep it quiet. Just from a pure marketing point of view, you stick ‘Christmas’ on it and people will watch it. It would also drive up their ratings.”
The story comes just two weeks after cinema chains refused to show an ad in which members of the public recite the Lord’s Prayer, on the grounds it could offend people of other faiths and none.
The 60-second feature was designed to promote the Church of England’s new website Just Pray and was due to be shown before the new Star Wars film which is released next week.
Digital Cinema Media, who handle advertising for the Odeon, Vue and Cineworld chains, said: “Some advertisements – unintentionally or otherwise – could cause offence to those of differing political persuasions, as well as to those of differing faiths and indeed of no faith.”