Cradle of Christianity in UK hosts Songs of Praise

Songs of praise being filmed at Holy Island.'Picture by Susan Tilt.
Songs of praise being filmed at Holy Island.'Picture by Susan Tilt.

Holy Island played host to the BBC Songs of Praise team recently, as a special edition of the show was filmed to mark the Lindisfarne Gospels’ return to the North East.

Filming for two programmes, to be aired on Sunday, August 4, and January next year, took place at St Mary the Virgin Church on Saturday, June 22.

Songs of praise being filmed at Holy Island.'Picture by Susan Tilt.

Songs of praise being filmed at Holy Island.'Picture by Susan Tilt.

BBC Breakfast news presenter Bill Turnbull, who has recently joined the Songs of Praise team, was on the island earlier in the week to film his segments for the show.

And a packed-out parish church was filled with local residents as well as community groups such as the Bailffgate Singers and pupils from Lowick and Holy Island first schools, who had been invited to take part.

One of the hymns that was sung by the congregation was a new compostion.

A local resident, who was in the audience, told the Gazette that the production team was amazed at the numbers of people who turned up.

She said: “Apparently it is usual to issue tickets, but on the day fewer turn up – not on Saturday!”

Songs of Praise, the most-watched British religious television programme, first aired in October 1961 and has been a constant fixture on UK screens ever since.

In recent years the shows have become more diverse in their content, typically with a different theme for each, such as for the programme recorded on Holy Island, which ties in with the Gospels exhibition in Durham.