Songs Of Praise was first broadcast on BBC Television on Sunday 1 October, 1961. Fifty years on the programme, the longest running religious TV programme in the world, continues to showcase the very best in congregational hymn singing and inspirational music, featuring the very best choirs and soloists from across the UK and beyond.
In 1961 the first ever Songs Of Praise came from the Tabernacle Welsh Baptist Church in Cardiff. For the first anniversary programme, 50 Years Ago, Songs of Praise turns the clock back as Pam Rhodes returns to the chapel to join the congregation as they sing the hymns chosen for that first broadcast.
A children’s choir will recreate the ever-popular hymn All Things Bright And Beautiful, there’s a performance from Welsh soprano Elin Manahan Thomas, former presenter Geoffrey Wheeler talks about his role and Sir Cliff Richard recalls life in the Sixties when Songs Of Praise was in its infancy.
For the second programme, Aled Jones introduces a special edition that features many of the magic moments from half a century of Songs Of Praise. 50 Amazing Years will be a fascinating look at the most inspiring music, the most surprising places, the most extraordinary people and the most incredible stories of personal faith – a unique snapshot that illustrates why Songs Of Praise is a television institution that means so much to so many.
And in the third programme, Celebrating 50 Years country music legend LeAnn Rimes and gospel diva Beverley Knight join superstar tenor Andrea Bocelli and voice of an angel Katherine Jenkins for the Songs Of Praise 50th Birthday Celebration, to be recorded at Alexandra Palace in London on Sunday 25 September.
Almost 7000 voices will aim to raise the roof of the iconic building where television broadcasting first began, singing some of the most popular hymns featured over the years – including Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer, Angel-Voices Ever Singing and Jerusalem.