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Songs of Praise

A local celebrity of an ecclesiastical bent drops byPARISHONAL POW-WOW showcasing abnormally packed congregations doled up to the nines singing in an exaggerated fashion, interspersed with reflections on the locality from the likes of civic dignitaries, community leaders and the world’s oldest lollipop lady. Format barely touched since day one. Famous face (CLIFF MICHELMORE, PAM RHODES, MICHAEL BARRATT, DEBBIE THROWER) welcomes you to “the beautiful county town of…” while loitering in a churchyard. Then it’s inside for the first hymn (the words on the screen so you can sing along). Then it’s back outside for a nose around the vicinity. If it’s a fishing town, there’s always a shot of locals bringing in the first catch of the day at 5.30am. If it’s in a city, there’s a shot of a workman in an orange bib climbing onto a bus at 5.00am. More hymnnage follows. A celebrity born in the area will show up for some reminiscing (“I remember the Harvest Festival of 1957 when I dressed up as a wheat sheaf and forgot the words to the second verse of All Things Bright And Beautiful!”). A local sob story is told. Prayers will be read. During the final hymn the camera will pick out people in the congregation who were featured in the programme earlier. Then it’s a dutiful farewell from our host and that strident organ theme to send us on our way feeling suitably wretched. An immovable feast at 6.40pm on Sunday teatimes for decades, even turning up on Christmas Day, though latterly its timeslot has crept back to 5.30pm. Hosts now include JONATHAN EDWARDS and also DIANE LOUISE JORDAN who lied about being a Christian when applying for the job, only for prolonged exposure to the book of Jobe and all 3,781 verses of Guide Me Oh Thou Great Redeemer to convert her on the spot.



  1. Glenn Aylett

    June 22, 2009 at 6:53 pm

    Been around as long as Coronation St and like the Manchester soap has a devoted following. SOP has seen off all of its rivals, especially its ITV equivalent Highway, and has more viewers than church attenders. Rather more varied now with Christian rock festivals being shown in the summer and often prog’s most famous Christian, Rick Wakeman, can be relied on to make an appearance, although he has not as yet been asked to perform King Arthur on the show.

  2. glam_racket

    June 22, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    The body of Shane Fenton
    is in the laundry chute of the
    New Ambassadors Hotel
    near Euston Station

    10 QI points for where this is from. Any takers?

  3. Adrian

    June 24, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    I sometimes watch SOP with the sound during the hymns muted, and then turn the sound on again during the local interest bits..

  4. John

    June 25, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    Only watched by very old people who are so nearly dead that they have a vested interest.

    For bored children in the olden days (the 70s) its end credits signified the welcome start of real television programmes on a Sunday evening. For years, both BBC and ITV conspired and refused to show real programmes (like Department S) on a Sunday until 7.25. Never 7.30 or 7.20. Always 7.25. Does anyone know why that was?

  5. Applemask

    March 5, 2010 at 9:56 pm


  6. Enoch Sneed

    April 5, 2010 at 10:08 am

    In 1981/1982 this came from our church, Central Methodist, in Morecambe and our mam was on it. She couldn’t believe the number of retakes (the whole congregation had to be in sync, no hissing s’s on the soundtrack). When it was over the late, lamented Dame Thora said: “I bet you all thought it was easy being on television.”

    What really cheesed the regulars off was that busloads were shipped from other local churches to make the place look full (usually there were a dozen old widows and now-retired small-businessmen who had formed the backbone of Northern Methodism in its heyday) – and they got all the exposure on camera; Central’s finest were stuck at the back. Showbiz is so fickle…

  7. Eight Ace

    April 6, 2010 at 8:57 am

    That’d be “Christian Rock Concert” by the legendary HMHB. Good work

  8. Joanne Gray

    February 24, 2017 at 4:31 pm

    I know it’s a different programme on a different channel, but talking of God slot shows, Morning Worship made the mistake of visiting Hartlepool once the morning Mass coming from St Joseph’s, the oldest Catholic parish in the town. A friend who attended the service said the church was packed to bursting – not just with Catholics from other parishes and other denominations, but also with non-Christians (perpetuating the Not The 9 O’clock News joke) and teenagers just there “for a laugh” and who wanted to be on tv. Plus, while the service was going on, the tv company’s OB vans (the local press mentioned Anglia even though Hartlepool is a Tyne Tees town – this was at the start of “corporate ” ITV plc, which might explain it) were ransacked by local youths.

  9. Fake Shemp

    August 7, 2019 at 10:18 pm

    It’s “Job”, not Job, you godless heathen BASTARDS.

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