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Behind the Scenes: BBC Songs of Praise

It was announced on the 10th of March 2017 that the BBC has lost the rights to make Songs of Praise in house. Under a new government led Charter the BBC will have to put all of its programmes up for tender and invite other companies to pitch for it. One of the first to fall was Songs of Praise. The show will now be produced by Nine Lives Media and Avanti Media rather than in house at the BBC. The show was beloved across the nation by hymn lovers and has been part of the BBC Sunday afternoon schedule for over 60 years.

So why am I writing about this?

Well as it happens Songs of Praise was the last TV show that I worked on before leaving to work in photography full time. Although I was only on board for 3 months I have many great memories about my time working with the team. I now feel for those hardworking staff members who will either be forced to move to another show at the BBC or even worse lose their jobs because of the recent news. Working in the world of television is full of 'pinch yourself' moments but underneath it all it can be brutally cruel at times.

In honour of this I thought I'd share a memory and some photos from my time there.

Working as a technical assistant and often second camera man or sound recordist I would spend the majority of my time travelling up and down the country with a producer in toe to record segments for the show. On this occasion we visited Brixham in Devon, somewhere I know well from holidaying in the area years ago with my family. The reason for the visit was to film presenter Aled Jones discovering the origins of the Song Abide with Me that is usually sung during the FA cup final.

We visited the hotel where the song is said to have been penned by Henry Francis Lyte, took in some local fish and chips and visited a church in the town where they have adopted the hymn as their anthem due to the fact the church bells ring out at 8pm every night Abide with me. It was a fantastic trip learning about the hymn, visiting somewhere I've not been in years and working on the show.

Abide with me; fast falls the eventide; The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide. When other helpers fail and comforts flee, Help of the helpless, O abide with me.

One of my photos from the trip made it as the main photo for the show on the BBC iPlayer.

To all the awesome hard working people who I worked alongside during my time there, I wish you all the best in finding new positions.


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