According to a survey which was commissioned by the BBC itself, both viewers and staff recently expressed concerns about “tokenism” and diversity “box-ticking” concerning the portrayal of Christians on TV.
It is maintained by some that the corporation retains a politically Left-wing or “liberal bias” and that religions other than Christianity were sometimes better represented, according to they survey.
A conclusion from the survey read like this:
In terms of religion, there were many who perceived the BBC to be anti-Christian and as such misrepresenting Christianity. Christians are specifically mentioned as being badly treated, with a suggestion that more minority religions are better represented despite Christianity being the most widely observed religion within Britain.
One anonymous Christian said
As a Christian I find that the BBC’s representation of Christianity is mainly inaccurate, portraying incorrect, often derogatory stereotypes.
Added to this view was the opinion that Christians are portrayed in extreme ways, either being weak and loose, or fundamental extremist.
Seldom do we find a Christian portrayed in drama, and when we do, it is usually a “weak” person or a “bigot”.”
I completely agree with the results of this survey. Christianity is portrayed generally in a very bad light by the BBC. In fact, I sit watching the TV cringing at BBC Christianity when it’s on. Even Songs of Praise, a weekly Church service broadcast by the BBC is a complete shambles 90% of the time. As for soaps and documentaries, the BBC seems to love it when someone has something bad to say about Christianity, or indeed some controversy theory that is meant to shake the foundations of an unshakable faith. It seems that every Easter, someone does a documentary on how they’ve ‘found Jesus’ body’ when two weeks later, the evidence proves false. Though, this year, Easter programmes about Christianity seemed a lot better for once. Prayer does work!
A BBC spokesman said:
We have strict editorial guidelines on impartiality, including religious perspectives, and Christian programming forms the majority and the cornerstone of our religion and ethical output.
Who is he kidding? I don’ think this is correct at all. Who’s Christianity is he talking about? Because it certainly isn’t mine.
Of course, BBC aren’t the only ones who are portraying Christianity in a bad light. All the stations are. You only have to watch Channel 4’s Dispatches documentaries on Christianity, or watch ITV soaps portraying weak and flakey Christian characters.
Maybe it’s time Christians get revamped on TV, and they actually research into what Christians are like. Indeed, some are weak, and some are bigoted. But the majority are Jesus loving, all rounded people who do a lot of work for this country, just like many who don’t have a faith.
Of course, the main problem for Christians is that the TV’ portrayal of us is transferred to the minds of those who don’t know all that much about Christianity, or in fact, Christians, and then it’s a very big job to break those stereotypical barriers down.
What are your views on the findings?
Dean is a Minister in the Anglican Church. Currently he is Curate in the parishes of Bedwas, Machen, Michaelston-y-Fedw and Rudry in South Wales. He was born and bred in Wales, is married to Megan, and has two dogs called Taliesin and Melyn, and two cats named Sinsir and Hâf. He graduated from Cardiff University with a BA Hons. in Theology & Religious Studies, and has studied for an MA in Theology, Ministry & Mission at Trinity College Bristol. He also holds a Cert.RSCM from the Royal School of Church Music. He loves playing music, walking, reading, blogging and horse riding as well as going to the cinema and theatre.
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I’d say this is true for most things on TV.
Which is why it was nice the Philip in the new Pirates movie was portrayed as a really good guy and not just some naive, annoying missionary.
Every right thinking person in Britain knows this to be true,
I think there is much more on the radio that reflect the BBC spokesman’s statement. But then, radio is a far superior medium to television anyway 😀
I would go along with that actually, Michael. 🙂 … I mean the spokesman’s statement bit; not the radio superiority bit 😛
I just wanted to say that the series on the Nativity on BBC at Christmas was fantastic, and showed the beginnings of Christianity in a true and positive light. I also watch Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch on BBC 4, which is about the History of Christianity, which is told in a honest and respectful way. I know I’ve only mentioned two programmes but they have probably been the two most explicitly Christian programmes on BBC recently. And I actually think Songs of Praise doesn’t do a bad job of portraying a range of different churches and Christians. At the end of the day, TV will always focus on extremes as it makes for more entertaining watching.
Anna, thanks for connecting and contributing!
I think you’re right; this past year has seen an improvement in what the BBC are airing. But I think generally, people get a lot of bad stereotypes from TV programmes. And unfortunately, TV tends to tar all Christians with the same brush.
I agree with what you are saying. However, this is a challenge to Christians to be more vocal, and maybe, more Christlike to prevent the development of these stereotypes.
I think you’re right, Anna. Good observation
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