BBC’s 2022 Easter programming announced

The BBC is marking Easter and other major faith festivals, including Holi, Ramadan, Vaisakhi, Passover, Eid and Vesak Day under the Faith and Hope for Spring 2022 heading with a rich mix of new commissions, live programming and content on flagship strands across its TV and radio channels.

To mark Easter, there will be live services, worship and reflections on Easter Sunday from across the country: on BBC One there will be a live service from Leeds Minster, led by the Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Revd Nick Baines; on Radio 4 the Most Revd Justin Welby shares his Easter message live from Canterbury Cathedral; there will be a message from the Archbishop of Canterbury and voices from churches around England across all 39 local radio stations; and there will be worship and reflections on BBC Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

In a new series for Easter on BBC One and BBC iPlayer, Jill Halfpenny’s Easter Walks, the actor takes viewers on a journey through Northeast England, exploring the surprising origins and connections between faith and place in her beloved Northumbria.

Airing across the Easter weekend, Easter from King’s on BBC Two shares seasonal choral music and readings from the fan-vaulted Chapel of King’s College, Cambridge while Urbi et Orbi on BBC One will show Pope Francis deliver his Easter Message and Blessing live from Rome.

In addition, in the build up to Easter, Pilgrimage: the Road to the Scottish Isles returns to BBC Two with seven new pilgrims following in the footsteps of the sixth century Irish monk, Saint Columba.

On BBC radio, Katie Piper brings an evening of music and reflections to BBC Radio 2 on Good Friday with At the Foot of the Cross and on BBC Radio 3, Diarmaid MacCulloch explores the many varieties of spiritual silence in human life and beyond in a new series of essays, Talking About Silence.

Also announced today is a new five part series A Believer’s Guide for BBC One and iPlayer, which will follow people as they navigate major life moments such as dealing with loss, becoming a parent or growing older. The series explores what faith has to offer during significant times of change. Digital cut downs of the series will be made available across the BBC’s social platforms, to reach a wide audience with these films.

There will be special editions of Celebration Kitchen to mark Holi and Eid, available on BBC One and iPlayer, music and conversation to mark Holi, Vaisakhi and Ramadan on BBC Asian Network and content for our youngest viewers on CBBC and CBeebies including My First Festivals and My Life.

There will be further content on the BBC’s flagship religious strands on TV and radio including Songs of Praise on BBC One, Lent Talks and Thought For The Day on BBC Radio 4, Good Morning Sunday on BBC Radio 2 and Heart And Soul on the World Service, as well as special features and items on BBC News and on popular shows including BBC Breakfast, The One Show and Newsround.

In addition, there will be another opportunity to see a range of recent religious programmes including Heavenly Gardens with Alexander Armstrong and Arit Anderson, A Tale of Five Temples: The Story of Hinduism in Britain, Sunday Morning Stories, Being Hindu. In the run up to Vesak Day, BBC Four will show the uplifting documentary, Mission Joy: With Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama.

The Faith and Hope page on BBC iPlayer will bring content together in one place, creating a central hub where audiences can find recent highlights.

Daisy Scalchi, BBC Commissioning Editor, Religion, says: “The BBC is passionate about providing audiences with a vibrant mix of religious content across its networks, bringing people together to worship, reflect and celebrate. Our Easter content this year offers everything from insights into how kindness and compassion can bring joy, to how communities have been built on faith over millennia. After the success of last year’s special Faith and Hope for Spring season, I’m delighted that we are returning this year with a wide range of content to mark the faith festivals, including new editions of Celebration Kitchen and a new boxset, A Believer’s Guide, for BBC One and iPlayer.”

Tim Pemberton, Head of Religion & Ethics, BBC Audio North says: “This is an important time of the year for many of the major faiths and the BBC’s Religion & Ethics team is pleased to offer a range of content to reflect this. As we enter spring our short talks, music, reports and wider programme content will hopefully play a part in helping people contemplate and come together over the course of the year.”



Easter Day Service

A traditional celebration for Easter, live from Leeds Minster, led by the Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Revd Nick Baines. With favourite seasonal hymns and choral music, including Jesus Christ is Risen Today, Thine be the Glory and This Joyful Eastertide, sung by the Minster Choir and congregation, directed by Alexander Woodrow.

Series Producer Pamela Hossick, Executive Producer Hugh Faupel

Urbi Et Orbi

Live from Rome, Pope Francis delivers his Easter Message and Blessing Urbi et Orbi – to the city and to the world. Fergal Keane sets the scene and will be joined by Sister Jane Livesey, Superior General of the Congregation of Jesus, an international religious order working in Education, Social Affairs and Pastoral work.

Jill Halfpenny’s Easter Walks (w/t)

This new series follows the star of Coronation Street, EastEnders and Waterloo Road as she takes two spiritual walks on country and coastal paths to explore the surprising origins and connections between faith and place in her beloved Northumbria.

Jill Halfpenny will explore a region of wild coastlines, blasted moors, raging rivers and ancient communities – in search of the area’s deep and secret connections to the origins of Easter celebrations.

Jill says: “Though I was born and bred in the northeast I have just moved back after years working away, and I am really, really loving it. I didn’t travel much as a child, and a lot of what I am finding is new to me so I am enjoying exploring my own backyard.

When I was younger I was part of the choir at church, and I always felt that Easter was really intense – I seemed to be in church all of the time. For me it’s all about renewal and rebirth and in these programmes I have enjoyed seeing if I can find anything about myself in the area where I grew up.”

Jill Halfpenny’s Easter Walks 2×60 for BBC One and iPlayer is Executive Produced by Harry Bell and Brendan Hughes for Tern Television at Zinc Media. The BBC Commissioning Editor is Daisy Scalchi.

A Believer’s Guide

This new five part series explores what faith can offer during some of life’s biggest moments. It shows what belief can provide in times of challenge, crisis or transition. Each episode will feature people who belong to one of Britain’s major religions (Christianity, Islam, Sikhism, Hinduism and Judaism) as they face a significant moment of change.

These are transitions that most of us face as we go through life – finding a partner, moving home, becoming parents, getting older and losing a loved one. But these believers find strength from the rituals and shared sense of community that belonging to a faith gives them.

Each episode follows one particular story, from a young Muslim couple expecting their first child to an 83 year old Jewish man planning his second bar mitzvah, as well as hearing from a range of other contributors from the same faith who share their own wisdom, humour and experience.

A Believer’s Guide 5×30 for BBC One and iPlayer is being made by Milk and Honey Productions where the Executive Producer is Lucy Pilkington and the Series Producer is Jo Woolf. The BBC Commissioning Editor is Daisy Scalchi.


Easter from King’s

Music and readings for Holy Week and Easter from the Chapel of King’s College, Cambridge, with the world-famous Choir, directed by Daniel Hyde. Popular and poignant choral music for the season includes Ave Verum Corpus (Mozart), God So Loved the World (Stainer) and Greater Love Hath No Man (Ireland). There’s a special performance of I Know that my Redeemer Liveth (Handel, from Messiah), by soprano Anita Monserrat and the congregation joins in favourite Easter hymns including When I Survey the Wondrous Cross and Jesus Christ is Risen Today. The story of Jesus’s death and resurrection is told from the Bible by members of King’s College and the service is introduced by the Dean, the Revd Dr Stephen Cherry.

Producer James Whitbourn, Director Pamela Hossick, Executive Producer Ben Mitchell


BBC Radio 4

Lent Talks

Lent Talks is a series of six personal reflections inspired by an aspect of the story leading up to Easter. This year’s theme is the power of hospitality, based on Jesus’ encouragement in Matthew’s gospel to feed the hungry, welcome the stranger and look after the sick.

The speakers are: Pastor Mick Fleming; theologian and historian Revd Dr Miranda Threlfall-Holmes; social entrepreneur Dr Krish Kandiah; sexual abuse survivor Dr Margaret Kennedy; retired palliative care doctor Kathryn Mannix and ex-gangster John Pridmore.

The series will be broadcast every Wednesday at 20:45 on Radio 4, from Wednesday 9th March.

Producer: Dan Tierney for BBC Audio North.

Easter Sunday Worship

The Most Revd Justin Welby shares his Easter message of hope and resurrection, in a joyful celebration, live from the stunning setting of Canterbury Cathedral. Members of Canterbury Cathedral Choir, directed by Dr David Newsholme, sing well-loved hymns and anthems. The organ is played by the Assistant Director of Music Jamie Rogers.

Producer: Philip Billson.

BBC Radio 2

At The Foot Of The Cross

An evening of music and reflections for Good Friday presented by Katie Piper.

Katie Piper hosts music and poetry to mark the day that Jesus died recorded at the BBC’s Maida Vale studios. The Kingdom Choir will perform arrangements of a number of popular anthems including Heaven Help Us All, Fix You, Lean on Me and Something Inside So Strong. Wildwood Kin bring their contemporary folk sound, with performances of The Valley, The Crown, Never Alone and Beauty in your Brokenness. There’s also music from St Martin’s Voices and the BBC Young Chorister of the Year, Ruby, and Runner Up, Mila.

The story of Jesus’ crucifixion will be told using poetry and spoken word, written and performed by some incredible writers including Paul Cookson, Dai Woolridge, Isabel Ball, Poetess Jess, Laura Darrall and Tremont Deigh. They will explore the grief and emotion felt by the main characters in the crucifixion narrative through a modern lens. The complexities of grief and the emotions it provokes: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance are present throughout the story of Jesus’ crucifixion.

Katie hears deeply personal stories from people who live with grief and hears how their faith has enabled them to find hope for the future.

Producer: Alexa Good

BBC Radio 3

BBC Radio 3 Breakfast

Breakfast this Spring plays music that reflects major festivals of the Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Christian faiths.

Free Thinking: After Dark Festival – Dark Places Crime writer Ann Cleeves, theologian Mona Siddiqui and poet Jake Morris-Campbell join Matthew Sweet to explore areas beyond the reach of light, both literally and metaphorically as part of Radio 3’s overnight festival at Sage Gateshead.

What darkness makes someone commit a murder? Shetland and Vera are two TV series developed from the crime novels of Ann Cleeves. Her most recent book is The Heron’s Cry featuring detective Matthew Venn and his colleague Jen Rafferty, played on TV in an adaptation of The Long Call by Ben Aldridge and Pearl Mackie.

Poet and New Generation Thinker Jake Morris-Campbell writes about the mining communities of Northumberland and Durham and the experience of working in darkness.

Professor Mona Siddiqui joined the University of Edinburgh’s Divinity school in December 2011 as the first Muslim to hold a Chair in Islamic and Interreligious Studies.

Radio 3’s After Dark Festival is a major new live music festival for 2022 in partnership with Sage Gateshead and TUSK Music, featuring some of the biggest names in contemporary, classical and experimental music.

Producer: Torquil MacLeod

EBU Holy Week Music

The European Broadcasting Union’s annual Holy Week Music Day celebrates Palm Sunday with a selection of Easter music specially recorded by ensembles from across Europe.

The centrepiece of this year’s day is a live performance of Bach’s St.John Passion, live from the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam with a starry cast of young soloists (Regula Mühlemann, soprano; Catriona Morison, mezzo-soprano; Mauro Peter, tenor; Maximilian Schmitt, tenor; Florian Boesch, bass; Ashley Riches, bass), the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and Laurens Collegium Rotterdam conducted by Trevor Pinnock. Bach’s St.John’s Passion was first performed in Leipzig 298 years ago on April 7th 1724. It is the dramatic telling of the Passion of Christ through a series of recitatives, arias and choruses as told in the Gospel of John.

Other musical treats include a concert of contemporary choral music from Riga which celebrates both physical light and the Christ light as a symbol; and the Danish National Vocal Ensemble conducted by David Hill performing sacred music from the last 500 years, including works by Renaissance master Josquin des Prez through to contemporary composer Dobrinka Tabakova.

The Essay: Talking about Silence

Talking about Silence is a personal pilgrimage around an enjoyable paradox: that you can understand silence better if you talk about it. In his new series of essays, Diarmaid MacCulloch explores the many varieties of spiritual silence in human life and beyond, and what he’s learned of its meanings in his six-decade career as an historian of religion. He wants to show how in its two thousand years of existence, Christianity has been a religion of the word and inseparable from a library of words, the Bible, but it cannot escape silence, because wrapped up in silence is truth. MacCulloch points to silence as the truest expression of the divine, as well as often a vehicle of the greatest evil.

Over the course of his five essays, Diarmaid explores how silence has worked itself out in the lived experience of Christianity, for good or ill.

Producer: Melissa Fitzgerald

A Blakeway production for BBC Radio 3

Choral Evensong

Choral Evensong for Easter Day live from Canterbury Cathedral. Canterbury Cathedral Choir is directed by Dr David Newsholme. The organ is played by the Assistant Director of Music Jamie Rogers.

Producer: Ben Collingwood

BBC Local radio

At 6am on Good Friday, all 39 local stations will play Keeping Faith at Easter – which will feature stories of hope and renewal from around England. Including how thousands of people from Hong Kong are being helped to settle in England by local churches, and how two sisters, after serving time for a serious crime, were driven by their strong faith to help young people in their communities who are heading the same way. The programme is presented by Frances Finn.

At 7am on Easter Sunday all local stations will bring listeners an Easter service with a message from the Archbishop of Canterbury and voices from churches around England, presented by Canon Tim Daykin.

BBC Asian Network


Ahead of Holi (the festival of colours), DJ Nish celebrates by playing her favourite party tunes and bangers.

8-10pm on Thursday 17 March


Asian Network Celebrates Vaisakhi, four 15 min specials on BBC Sounds with guests including Eastenders star Jaz Deol, International music artists Satinder Sartaaj and Asees Kaur, plus British Asian DJ, DJ Simz on what the festival of Vaisakhi means to them, the heritage, the principles of Sikhism and the importance of representation. Friday 8 April-Monday 14 April.


Celebrations for Ramadan will take place throughout the whole of April across Asian Network, including a six part podcast Not Even Water with TV Presenter Mehreen Baig – exploring the experiences of young British Muslims during Ramadan. Guests will include Tez Ilyas, Amena Khan, Aatif Nawaz, The Underrated Hijabi, boxing brothers Hassan and Adam Azim – and more.

Northern Ireland

From March to May, Thought For The Day on BBC Radio Ulster/Foyle will mark and reflect on a range of non-Christian faith festivals and events, including Holi, Ramadan, Vaisakhi, Passover, Eid and Vesak.

In the run-up to Easter on BBC Radio Ulster/Foyle, From Darkness To Dawn is a meditation in words and music reflecting the journey of Holy Week. The reflections will be broadcast each night at 11.50pm starting on Sunday 10 April and ending on Saturday 16 April.

On Easter Day, Sunday Sequence on BBC Radio Ulster/Foyle from 8.30am to 10am will be presented by Audrey Carville with guests discussing and reflecting on the meaning and relevance of the Easter story in general and the theme of resurrection in particular, during times of global crisis and upheaval.

The specially extended Morning Service programme for Easter Sunday at 10am to 11am will be a Choral Eucharist from St George’s Church, High Street, Belfast. The Celebrant and Preacher will be the Rector, the Rev Brian Stewart.

Then from midday to 2pm, an extended Easter Sunday special edition of Sunday with Brian D’Arcy brings a selection of reflections on the Easter theme, combined with a variety of great music from old-time country to contemporary classics to lift the spirits and look ahead to a life renewed.

At 5pm Sounds Sacred with Richard Yarr on Radio Ulster and Rejoice with James McClelland on Radio Foyle will mark Easter Day with a selection of rousing hymns, gospel music, audience requests and dedications.

All the radio programmes will also be available on BBC Sounds.

BBC Scotland

Reflections at the Quay BBC One Scotland

Reflections at the Quay will return for a one-hour special on Easter Sunday on BBC One Scotland. The familiar mix of words and music includes Scottish Folk style worship songs from popular ensemble Celtic Worship, Gospel style songs from Grace Agbana and Joshua Aina, and traditional Easter hymns.

Four presenters reflect on the Easter theme of light and hope in the darkness. They each bring different experience relating the Easter story to the reality of the 21st century. Emma Jackson leads Christians Against Poverty in Scotland. Jennifer Coldfield runs Soul Food, an Edinburgh charity. Callum Timms is a recently graduated teacher and Neil Glover is a parish minister.

BBC Radio Scotland will mark Easter with a variety of programming across its schedule:

The Touch of Love: Good Friday 15 April

Spiritual director, Anne Buhrmann, explores how living through the pandemic has made us feel more deeply and love more deeply; aware of our human vulnerability and our separateness, but also how connected we are. Setting people’s stories of hurt but also of love against the Passion story, Anne looks for meaning in suffering, and also signs of hope and rebirth.

Alongside Pain and Hope: Good Friday 15 April

Vérène Nicolas, a life coach and community worker, lives with pain every day, with the support of her husband, Quaker and environmental author Alastair McIntosh. In a conversation springing from the Good Friday suffering of Christ, they explore ways of finding meaning and even hope in human pain, both personally and in the context of a suffering planet.

New Every Sunday: Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday

Act of worship led by Rev Neil Glover, Church of Scotland minister for the Parishes of Aberfeldy, Dull & Weem and Grantully, Logierait and Strathtay

Sunday Morning with Connie McLaughlin and Thought for the Day will mark the major religious festivals on BBC Radio Scotland.

Radio nan Gaidheal

Easter output across BBC Radio nan Gaidheal includes

Dèanamaid Adhradh – Didòmhnaich Slat Phailm (Palm Sunday)

John Archie MacMIllan will conduct our Palm Sunday service this year

Dèanamaid Adhradh – Didòmhnaich na Càisge (Easter Sunday)

The service will be conducted by Agnes Mitchell, a member of the Apostolic Connect Church in Kirkcaldy

Smuain na Maidne – Seachdain na Ceusta (Thought for the day Holy Week)

Donalda McComb will deliver her daily thoughts throughout Holy Week

BBC Wales

For BBC Radio Wales, All Things Considered will examine the Jewish festival of Purim while Hindu teacher and theologian Akhandadhi Das reflects on Holi for Weekend Word which also features Muslims Amanda Morris and Azim Ahmed as they reflect on Ramadan.

Menna Machreth will lead a Celebration service from Caernarfon for Palm Sunday while Michael Williams leads a Celebration service from Swansea on Easter Sunday.

Yr Oedfa for Lent on BBC Radio Cymru begins with a Service led by former Archbishop of Wales and Cantebury, Dr Rowan Williams. Good Friday’s Oedfa will be in the form of a conversation with poet, Gwyneth Lewis while Easter Sunday’s Service will be led by the new Archbishop of Wales, Andy John.

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