The BBC has set out wide-ranging plans to increase its coverage of religion and ethics in the coming years.
Following a year of audience research that involved talking to over 150 senior external stakeholders and running sessions with groups of younger adults, the BBC has decided to boost its religion and ethics output. It is planning landmark series and programs to reach wide audiences, dubbing 2019 as a “Year of Beliefs.” It is looking to diversify its range of contributors and enhance religious portrayal in mainstream programming.
On TV, the BBC will work across history, science and other lifestyle genres in an attempt to broaden impact with audiences that would not automatically choose to consume religious and ethics programming.
The series Muslims Like Us is one example of a program that was particularly successful with younger audiences, with 41% of viewers being under 45.
In a report released today, the BBC cites documentaries including An Island Parish and The Selfless Sikh, as examples the broadcaster will use as a reference to programming that shows the personal role that beliefs play in people’s lives.
“We are developing more people-led stories that have warmth and depth, ranging from observing vicars and their work in local communities to exploring potential radio formats based around humor and a ‘been there, done that’ honesty,” the report reads.
It also references programs such as The Chronicles of Nadiya, The Real Marigold Hotel and Paul O’Grady — The Sally Army and Me as examples of how applying the right approach to this subject matter can yield large audiences.
“We believe that these plans will ensure that the BBC better reflects the UK, the world, and the role that religion plays in everyday life,” the broadcaster said in a statement. “They will also raise understanding of the impact religion has on decisions made at home and abroad.”