Press releases

16 November 2016  

2017 Sandford St Martin Awards opens for entries

The Sandford St Martin Trust is calling for entries to the UK’s most prestigious awards for radio, TV and online content exploring religious, spiritual or ethical themes.

Applications are encouraged from news, current affairs, drama, music, arts, children’s and comedy genres, as well as from specifically ‘religious’ commissions.  Stephen Fry’s controversial interview for RTE in which he denounced God as “utterly evil, capricious and monstrous” was one of the programmes shortlisted for an Award in 2016.

Defending the place of programmes that challenge as well as support faith among those recognized by the Awards, Anna McNamee, Executive Secretary of the Trust said: “Religion plays a key role in some of the world’s biggest issues today.  Through recognising programmes that effectively explore those big questions encompassed by religion and ethics, who we are and why we’re here, the Sandford St Martin Awards aim to highlight the growing importance of understanding people from all perspectives.”

Bishop Nick Baines, Chair of the Trust said: “Religion is a prime motivator of individuals and communities, inspiring and informing their political, economic, ethical and social behaviour.  In addition to raising awareness of the different cultures and alternative viewpoints that make up UK society, broadcasters should reflect and interpret the many religious communities that exist in the UK with the aim of building a better understanding of the beliefs people hold both between those communities and by UK audiences as a whole.”

Speaking at the 2016 Awards ceremony, the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby called on broadcasters to treat religion “with the same seriousness as other genres like sport, politics, economics or drama.” The promotion of religious literacy, he said “should be a specific duty.”

The deadline for entries is Friday 3 February 2017. Winners will be announced at a special ceremony at Lambeth Palace on Wednesday, June 7th 2017.

For details on how to enter, go to http://sandfordawards.org.uk/the-awards/2017-entry/

For more information please contact:

Anna McNamee (Executive Secretary):   020 7898 1796   or   0789 980 0758

anna.mcnamee@sandfordawards.org.uk 

Website: http://sandfordawards.org.uk/

Twitter: @sandfordawards

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SandfordStMartinTrust/


6 June 2016

Archbishop of Canterbury calls on BBC to “take religion seriously”

In a keynote speech to be delivered on June 8th, the Rt Rev Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury will call on the BBC to treat religion “with the same seriousness as other genres like sport, politics, economics or drama”.

“The promotion of religious literacy should be a specific duty for the BBC across its broadcasting services” the Archbishop of Canterbury will say referring to last month’s white paper on the BBC.  “BBC charter renewal, and questions about the ownership of Channel 4, have focused to some extent on the diversity of people who make up our islands and who constitute the audience of our great broadcasting institutions.  But if diversity is to mean anything, it must mean more than differences in ethnicity or personal tastes… True diversity also means paying proper attention to religion.”

The comments will form part of a speech made to open the 2016 Sandford St Martin Awards ceremony at Lambeth Palace.  Established in 1978, the Awards recognise the best broadcast programmes about religion, ethics and spirituality broadcast in the UK.

Roger Bolton, a Sandford St Martin trustee and the presenter of BBC Radio 4’s ‘Feedback’ programme said: “We are concerned that while the Corporation continues to broadcast some excellent religion and ethics programmes, in the light of proposals recently made in the Government White Paper that the BBC does not have a clear strategy for supporting the genre in the future.  There is no one in the corporation with overall responsibility for religion. Can the BBC give assurances that it will invest in the specialist knowledge and expertise necessary for religion to be given proper priority?”

The Rt Rev Nicholas Baines, Lord Bishop of Leeds and the Chair of the Trust said “Religion is a prime motivator of individuals and communities, inspiring and informing their political, economic, ethical and social behaviour.   So we’d like to propose an addition to the public purposes proposed by the white paper.  In addition to ‘raising awareness of the different cultures and alternative viewpoints that make up (UK) society’ we propose that the BBC should reflect and interpret the many religious communities that exist in the UK with the aim of building a better understanding of the beliefs people hold both between those communities and by UK audiences as a whole.”

You can read a transcript of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s address here.

Or listen to a recording here.

12 May 2016

Sandford St Martin Trust response to Government BBC Charter White Paper

While the Sandford St Martin Trust welcomes the white paper proposals to cement on- and off-screen diversity measures, we would ask the Government to be clear that diversity includes full representation of faith and faith minorities.

Roger Bolton, a Sandford St Martin trustee said: “We regret that in the revised public purposes of the BBC there is no specific reference to promoting religious literacy which we believe is vital for the future wellbeing of society, and we urge the government to think again.”

The Trust believes that the BBC’s existing coverage, though valued, needs significant improvement, and would advocate the introduction of a new public purpose for the BBC which would be “Promoting religious literacy: BBC audiences can rely on the BBC to reflect the many religious communities that exist in the UK with the aim of building a better understanding of the beliefs people hold both between those communities and by the UK audiences as a whole.”

The Rt Rev Nicholas Baines, Lord Bishop of Leeds and the Chair of the Trust said: “The BBC has three Reithian ‘purposes’: inform, entertain, educate. I would like to propose a fourth: interpret. The world needs to be interpreted, not just reported. And to do this effectively, the lens of those being reported to needs to be looked through and understood. This means that religion needs to be taken more seriously by the BBC in its future shape and remit. Religion is a prime motivator of individuals and communities, inspiring and informing their political, economic, ethical and social behaviour – probably also their emotional engagement with what is going on in the world and in them.”

For more information or interviews please contact:

Anna McNamee: anna.mcnamee@sandfordawards.org.uk

Direct line: 0789 980 0758

 

Twitter: @sandfordawards

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SandfordStMartinTrust

Website: www.sandfordawards.org.uk

 

 

 

21 March 2016

Shortlists for 2016 Sandford St Martin Awards announced 

Stephen Fry’s controversial interview in which he denounces God as “utterly evil, capricious and monstrous”, Tony Jordan’s Eastenders-meets-the-Old-Testament version of The Ark and Lyse Doucet’s searing documentary Children of the Gaza War are just three of the programmes that have been shortlisted for 2016 Sandford St Martin Awards – the UK’s most prestigious prize for radio, TV and online content that explores religious, spiritual or ethical themes.

The Rt Revd Nick Baines, Bishop of Leeds and Chair of the Sandford St Martin Trust, says that celebrating excellence in religious broadcasting is particularly important in this year of BBC Charter renewal and amid rumours regarding a possible privatisation of Channel 4:

“The world needs to be interpreted, not just reported. And to do this effectively, the lens of those being reported to needs to be looked through and understood. This means that religion needs to be taken more seriously by the BBC in its future shape and remit.  Religion is a primary motivator of individuals and communities, inspiring and informing their political, economic, ethical and social behaviour.”

Lyse Doucet, the BBC’s Chief International Correspondent and a former recipient of the Sandford St Martin Trustees Award, said:

“Religion, and belief in general, is one of the most important threads in some of the big issues of our time. People’s faith is, in some places, divisive and destructive but in others it is a source of strength and solidarity. The Awards recognize the growing importance of understanding all faiths and people of no faith.” 

Winners of the 2016 awards will be announced at a special ceremony being held at Lambeth Palace on 8 June 2016.

Full shortlists follow with links to programmes available on www.sandfordawards.org.uk

For all press enquiries, please contact:

Sarah Parfitt (PR Consultant): 0207 898 1796. Mob: 07900 4117 15

sarah.parfitt@sandfordawards.org.uk

2016 Sandford St Martin Award Shortlists 

TV Shortlist 

A DEADLY WARNING: SREBRENICA REVISITED (BBC Religion and Ethics for BBC One)

BAZ: THE LOST MUSLIM (PART 2) (Brown Bread Films Ltd for RTÉ2)

GENIUS OF THE ANICENT WORLD: BUDDHA (BBC Religion and Ethics for BBC Four)

JOAN OF ARC: GOD’S WARRIOR (Matchlight Limited for BBC Two)

MUSLIM DRAG QUEEN (Swan Films for Channel 4)

MY SON THE JIHADI (True Vision Productions for Channel 4)

SONGS OF PRAISE (FROM THE CALAIS JUNGLE) (BBC Religion and Ethics for BBC One)

THE ARK (Red Planet Pictures for BBC One)

Radio Shortlist 

DIVIDED IN DEATH (HEART AND SOUL) (Whistledown Productions for BBC World Service)

GROWING UP IN MULTI-FAITH BRITAIN (FAITH IN THE WORLD WEEK) (BBC Religion & Ethics Radio

for BBC Radio 2)

IN SEARCH OF MODERATE MUSLIMS (Whistledown Productions for BBC Radio 4)

NOT NOW (Radio Drama, BBC Radio Scotland for BBC Radio 4)

OBJECTIONS AT THE WEDDING (HEART AND SOUL) (Whistledown Productions for BBC World Service)

RAMADAN EXPRESS (CTVC for www.thingsunseen.co.uk)

SHOAH IN JERUSALEM (Open Audio for BBC Radio 4)

THE LOST CHILDREN OF THE HOLOCAUST (WITNESS) (BBC World Service for BBC World Service)

Children’s Shortlist 

7/7 (CTVC Ltd for TrueTube.co.uk)

EXTREMISTS (CTVC Ltd for TrueTube.co.uk)

FOR THE SAKE OF THE CHILD (CTVC Ltd for TrueTube.co.uk)

HIROSHIMA: A NEWSROUND SPECIAL (Newsround – CBBC)

KATIE (CTVC Ltd for TrueTube.co.uk)

MR ALZHEIMERS AND ME (MY LIFE) (Tigerlily Productions for CBBC)

SLEEPING LIONS (Libra Television / David & Goliath for BBC Two)

THE BOY ON THE BICYCLE (MY LIFE) (Drummer Television for CBBC)

Interview of the Year Shortlist

A MOTHER’S GOOD FRIDAY: DIANE FOLEY (CTVC for www.thingsundseen.co.uk)

A THOUSAND WORDS: GAVIN MERRIFIELD (GRF Christian Radio for www.smallvoice.org.uk)

DAVID SCHNEIDER TALKS TO PALLIATIVE CARE CONSULTANT KATHRYN MANNIX (ONE TO ONE)

(BBC Radio and Music Factual for BBC Radio 4)

TRAVELLERS’ TALES: HANNAH SCOTT-JOYNT TALKS TO JOHN FIELDSEND (TBI Media for Premier Radio)

THE MEANING OF LIFE, WITH GAY BYRNE: STEPHEN FRY (RTÉ Religious Programmes for RTÉ One)

TRAVELLERS’ TALES: HANNAH SCOTT-JOYNT TALKS TO STU HALLAM (TBI Media for Premier Radio)

THE CHEF (PM) (BBC News for BBC Radio 4 PM Programme)

Radio Times Faith Award (voted for by readers of the Radio Times)

THE ARK (BBC One)
SONGS OF PRAISE FROM THE JUNGLE, CALAIS (BBC One)
CALL THE MIDWIFE (BBC One)

A SONG FOR JENNY (BBC One)
DAVID SUCHET IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF ST PETER (BBC One)
CHILDREN OF THE GAZA WAR (BBC Two)

EDITORS’ NOTES 

  • The Awards  

The awards are open to a wide range of genres – news, current affairs, factual, arts, music, drama and comedy as well as “traditional” religious broadcasting – and are open to programmes about any faith. Winners are selected by specially chosen of media professionals. Entries for the 2016 Awards must have been broadcast for the first time between 1 January and 31 December 2015.

Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on 8 June 2016 at Lambeth Palace, London. Full criteria for the awards are available on the website: http://sandfordawards.org.uk/the-awards/2016-awards/.

Readers of the Radio Timescan also vote for their favourite religious television programme in the Radio Times Faith Award up until 8 May 2016. The shortlist has just been published: http://www.radiotimes.com/win/vote-in-radio-times-faith-award-2015/354.html.

  • The Sandford St Martin Trust  

The Sandford St Martin Trust is an independent, non-profit organisation. It has been making annual awards for the best programmes about religion, ethics and spirituality since 1978.

The Trust engages with a wide range of media organisations and individual journalists, filmmakers, broadcasters and other media figures, many of whom give their time and expertise voluntarily to support the Trust’s work. The Trust believes the media can be a powerful tool to increase understanding of different perspectives and beliefs in our world, helping create greater understanding, tolerance and thoughtfulness.

You can read more about the Trust at www.sandfordawards.org.uk

  • Previous Award Winners  

Previous winners have included Lyse Doucet, Professor Simon Schama, Danny Boyle, Ian Hislop, Howard Jacobson, David Suchet, Rageh Omaar, Olivia Colman, Tom Hollander, Sally Magnusson, Tony Robinson and Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.

16 November 2015

2016 Sandford St Martin Trust Awards now open for entries with a new Interview of the Year category

The Sandford St Martin Trust is now calling for entries to the UK’s most prestigious annual broadcast awards for radio, TV and online content exploring religious, spiritual or ethical themes. Entries are welcome from people working across the broadcast media – producers, broadcasters, online content creators and publishers.

The BBC’s chief international correspondent Lyse Doucet, winner of the 2015 Sandford St Martin Trustees’ Award, said: “Religion, and belief in general, is one of the most important threads in some of the big issues of our time. The Awards recognize the growing importance of understanding all faiths and people of no faith. They highlight the most compelling stories to help ensure they reach the widest audiences possible.”

The new Interview of the Year Award category is for a broadcast TV, Radio or online interview that explores religion, spirituality or ethics from a personal perspective. This could be with a leading religious figure or an ordinary person.

Referring to the new category, Sandford St Martin trustee and broadcaster Roger Bolton, said: “We recognise that it is difficult for non-national network programmes to compete against the usually better resourced national output. The Interview of the Year Award aims to give everyone an equal chance. The focus will not be on the eminence of the interviewee or interviewer, but on the quality of the interview, the religious and ethical expertise and the sensitivity it displays.”

The 2016 Awards, worth around £10,000, will be presented at Lambeth Palace on Wednesday, June 8th 2016 at a ceremony attended by leading broadcasters, journalists and programme-makers as well as representatives of different faiths.

Previous winners have included Simon Schama, Danny Boyle, Ian Hislop, Howard Jacobson, David Suchet, Rageh Omaar, Olivia Colman, Tom Hollander, Sally Magnusson, Tony Robinson and Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.

The deadline for entries is Friday, February 5th 2016.

For details on how to apply, go to www.sandfordawards.org.uk

For more information please contact:

Sarah Parfitt (PR and Communications)07900 4117 15
 sarah.parfitt@sandfordawards.org.uk

 

EDITORS’ NOTES  

1) The Awards

The following award categories are now open for entries:

  • Sandford St Martin Trust Children’s Award
  • Sandford St Martin Trust Television Award
  • Sandford St Martin Trust Radio Award
  • Sandford St Martin Trust Interview of the Year Award

Entries for the 2016 Awards must have been broadcast for the first time between 1 January and 31 December 2015.

The deadline for entries is Friday 5th February 2016.

There is also a ‘Radio Times’ Faith Award which is chosen by readers of the magazine from a shortlist of programmes chosen by Radio Times critics and published in the magazine at Easter.

Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on 8th June 2016 at Lambeth Palace, London.

Entry forms and full criteria for the awards are available on the website: http://sandfordawards.org.uk/the-awards/2016awards/ 

2) The Sandford St Martin Trust

The Sandford St Martin Trust is an independent, non-profit organisation. It has been making annual awards for the best programmes about religion, ethics and spirituality since 1978.

The Trust engages with a wide range of media organisations and individual journalists, filmmakers, broadcasters and other media figures, many of whom give their time and expertise voluntarily to support the Trust’s work. This includes contributing to ongoing public consultations and debates on the future of broadcasting – The Trust’s most recent submission, to the BBC Trust’s consultation on Charter renewal can be read here:  http://sandfordawards.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Sandford-St-Martin-response-to-BBC-Charter-review-Consultation_2015_11_05.pdf

The Trust believes the media can be a powerful tool to increase understanding of different perspectives and beliefs in our world, helping create greater understanding, tolerance and thoughtfulness.

You can read more about the Trust at www.sandfordawards.org.uk

3) 2015 Award Winners

TV WINNER: ONE MILLION DUBLINERS (Underground Films for RTÉ 1)

TV RUNNER-UP: MARVELLOUS (Fifty Fathoms & Tiger Aspect for BBC Two)

RADIO WINNER: NO DESTINATION (Reel Soul Movies for BBC Radio 4)

RADIO RUNNER-UP: FOR THE LOVE OF GOD (BBC Asian Network/BBC News for BBC Asian Network)

CHILDREN’S WINNER: CHILDREN OF THE HOLOCAUST (Fettle Animation for BBC Two)

RUNNER-UP: CHILDREN OF KABUL: AN UNCERTAIN FUTURE – NEWSROUND SPECIAL (CBBC Productions for CBBC)

2015 TRUSTEES’ AWARD: LYSE DOUCET, the BBC’s chief international correspondent

2015 RADIO TIMES FAITH AWARD:  GRANTCHESTER (Lovely Day/Masterpiece for ITV)

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________

May 13, 2015

BBC Journalist Lyse Doucet to receive 2015 Sandford St Martin Trustees’ Award

It has been announced that the BBC’s Chief International Correspondent, Lyse Doucet, is to receive a prestigious Sandford St Martin Trustees’ Award for raising the profile of religion in the media.  Doucet will be presented with the prize by James Harding, Director of BBC News and Current Affairs, in a special ceremony at Lambeth Palace on May 27th.

James Harding said “It is a special privilege for me to be able to present this award.  Lyse Doucet is one of the great treasures of BBC News – and I think of journalism across the world – and this gives us a chance to acknowledge the extraordinary importance of her work.  This Sandford St Martin award recognises the profound influence of religion on the world we live in and Lyse has fearlessly brought us greater understanding of religion from some of the most perilous places on the planet.  She is a more than worthy recipient of this great honour and I’m very glad to have this opportunity to recognise her immense achievement.”

In more than 30 years as a foreign correspondent, Doucet has reported from the frontlines of some of the world’s most dangerous trouble spots including a leading role in the BBC’s coverage of the Arab Spring and more recently the on-going conflicts in Gaza, Syria and Northern Iraq.  Last April she was granted an in-depth and exclusive interview with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby during his visit to meet political and religious leaders in Egypt.

“We are delighted to be giving Lyse our special award for her commitment to journalism and her intelligent and clear reporting of the religious elements of global events,” said the Rt Revd Nick Baines, Bishop of Leeds and Chair of the Sandford St Martin Trust. “In the fast-moving and pressurised world of news reporting, this is no mean task and she has given clarity to situations of great complexity and conflict.”

When she was told of the Award Doucet said “I am very touched that the Sandford St Martin Trust deems my work deserving of this. It has been the most extraordinary privilege to work in so many countries and cultures, but this has also brought a responsibility to tell these stories as well as possible, and to understand people of all faiths and people of no faith. As journalists we hope our work helps bring a wider understanding, if not empathy to our world.”

In response to news of the award the BBC’s Religious Correspondent, Caroline Wyatt said: “I think that Lyse deserves the award more than anyone I can think of for her sustained, honest and accurate reporting of some of the biggest stories of our times.

She is a colleague with immense generosity of soul and spirit, and an inspiration to us all.”

For interviews or images please contact:

Sarah Parfitt: sarah.parfitt@sandfordawards.org.uk

Direct line: 07900 4117 15

NOTES FOR EDITORS:

Lyse Doucet

Doucet grew up in Bathurst, eastern Canada where religion was an integral part of everyday life.

From 1983 to 1988, she worked as a freelancer in West Africa for the Canadian media and for the BBC.

She is a regular presenter for BBC World News TV and on World Service Radio.

Doucet has four honorary doctorates from leading Canadian universities as well as from the University of York in Britain.

In April 2014 Doucet was awarded an OBE in recognition for her services to British broadcasting.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

2 February 2015

Leading broadcast awards organisation, the Sandford St Martin Trust raises alarm over BBC TV restructure

The Sandford St Martin Trust has responded to the news that four top jobs in BBC Factual Commissioning are being closed by questioning whether the broadcaster is in danger of undermining vital religious programming.

The Rt Rev Nick Baines, Bishop of Leeds said “At a time when it is impossible to understand the modern world – its politics, economics, military and humanitarian events – without understanding religion, why isn’t religion being prioritised by the BBC as needing expert commissioning?”

On 23 January the BBC announced that the specialist role of Commissioning Editor for Religion is to be closed.  This change, being overseen by Emma Swain, the controller of factual commissioning, will see religious programmes being commissioned by one new Commissioning Head of Specialist Factual who also will have responsibility for commissioning BBC TV’s science, business and history programmes.

“We are seeking assurances from the BBC that factual commissioning will retain the specialist knowledge and expertise necessary for religion to be given adequate priority” said the Bishop of Leeds.  “Will the new Commissioning Head of Specialist Factual be issued specific objectives and goals that will help ensure informed coverage of religion as a motivator and factor in local, national and world events?  And, if so, when will these become known?”

Roger Bolton, the BBC presenter and a Sandford St Martin Trustee, picking up on comments by the Bishop of Leeds said, “It’s the old problem: not taking religion seriously. For instance, why is there no BBC News Religion Editor to complement the Science, Economics, Business, Political, Financial, Arts and Sports Editors?”

ENDS

For more information please contact:

anna.mcnamee@sandfordawards.org.uk  

EDITORS’ NOTES

The Sandford St Martin Trust

The Sandford St Martin Trust is an independent, non-profit organisation. It has been making annual awards for the best programmes about religion, ethics and spirituality since 1978.   Recent winners include Simon Schama, Melvyn Bragg, Rageh Omaar, Ian Hislop, Danny Boyle and Frank Cotterell Boyce.

The Trust engages with a wide range of media organisations and individual journalists, filmmakers, broadcasters and other media figures, many of whom give their time and expertise voluntarily to support the Trust’s work. The Trust believes the media can be a powerful tool to increase understanding of different perspectives and beliefs in our world, helping create greater understanding, tolerance and thoughtfulness.

You can read more about the Trust at www.sandfordawards.org.uk

Nick Baines’ blog on the BBC restructure can be found here: http://sandfordawards.org.uk/with-a-restructure-in-the-offing-what-is-the-future-for-religion-at-the-bbc/

The BBC’s own coverage of the restructure can be found here:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/ariel/30953191

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

August 2014

Journalist Anna McNamee takes up new religious broadcasting role

The Sandford St Martin Trust has appointed the award-winning broadcaster Anna McNamee as its first executive secretary, to lead its work promoting excellence in religious broadcasting.

As a producer and reporter on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, she won a Mental Health Media Award, and a programme she made for ITN and Channel Four won an Amnesty International Prize. She presented the daily arts programme The Strand on BBC World Service, where she also produced Reporting Religion.

Anna McNamee will take up the post this week when the Sandford St Martin Trust sponsors a session – God: TV’s Holy Grail? – at the Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival. The speakers will include Polly Toynbee, vice-president of the British Humanist Association; Roger Bolton, Radio 4 presenter and Sandford trustee; Aaqil Ahmed, the BBC’s head of religion and ethics; Ralph Lee, Channel 4’s deputy chief creative officer; and Tony Jordan, screenwriter of Eastenders, Life on Mars, The Nativity and The Ark.

The Sandford St Martin Trust has been giving awards for the best programmes about religion, ethics and spirituality since 1978. This year’s top TV award was won by Professor Simon Schama for his BBC Two series The Story of the Jews, while two special awards were made to Melvyn Bragg and the late Sir John Tavener. Previous Sandford St Martin winners have included Danny Boyle, Ian Hislop, Howard Jacobson, David Suchet, Rageh Omaar, Olivia Colman, Tom Hollander, Sally Magnusson, Tony Robinson and Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks.

The chair of the Trust, the Rt Revd Nick Baines, Bishop of Leeds, said: “Despite predictions that religion would fade from modern life, we appear to be experiencing a resurgence of its role on the global stage. The Trust believes that broadcasters do their audiences a disservice if they ignore this, and is stepping up its efforts to encourage excellence in religious coverage across all programme genres. We’re delighted to announce Anna McNamee’s appointment, which comes at an important time for the Trust as it takes on the new role of advocate for more and better broadcasting about religion.”

Anna McNamee said: “It is with great excitement and enthusiasm that I am joining The Sandford St Martin Trust as it embarks on a new advocacy strategy for good religious broadcasting. As the organisation responsible for one of the UK’s most prestigious broadcasting awards, the Trust is in an excellent position to build and expand still further its already formidable connections and knowledge base. In the coming months we’ll be embarking on new and exciting projects, partnerships and collaborations with broadcasters and media organisations who, like the Trust, believe we live in complex and interesting times where understanding religion and spirituality are crucial to understanding our world and the people in it.”

For more information about photography or interviews , please contact:

Julia Lewis (PR and Communications)
Phone:   07730 499144
Email:    julia@sandfordawards.org.uk 

Rachel Viney
Phone:   07980 803969
Email:    rachel@vineyassociates.com

EDITOR’S NOTES

1) Anna McNamee biography

Anna McNamee is a Canadian journalist and writer. Between 2010 and 2013 she presented the BBC World Service’s daily arts radio programme The Strand and she continues to make and present programmes for both the World Service and Radio 4.

McNamee’s broadcast career began in Okayama, Japan where, between 1989–1991, she developed and presented a series of weekly educational programmes.

In 1992, McNamee moved to London where she worked as a freelance news researcher and producer for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). It was during this period that she joined forces with two independent TV production companies specialising in newsgathering from conflict zones and hard-to-access places. From 1992 to 1995 McNamee spent much of her time travelling between Europe, East Africa and Latin America reporting on and making programmes from, for instance, the front line of Sudan’s Civil War, post-genocide Rwanda, and, Haiti during the US intervention aimed at restoring the ousted President Aristide to power. The programme she made for ITN and Channel 4’s First Sex series on the use of rape as a weapon of war in Haiti won an Amnesty International Prize in 1995.

In 1996 McNamee joined Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour as a producer and reporter. Subsequently she has worked as a producer, reporter and presenter on a variety of BBC radio programmes including among others Reporting Religion (WS) and The Media Show (R4) and The Strand (WS).

Additional prizes include a Mental Health Media Award (for a Woman’s Hour investigative feature on sexual assault in mixed sex mental health wards which was subsequently quoted in Parliament) and the Glenfiddich Food and Drink Award (for a series on forgotten fruit and vegetables). She has also twice been shortlisted for One World Media Awards for programmes about gun crime in South Africa and female Jamaican drug mules serving time in UK prisons.

2) The Sandford St Martin Trust

The Sandford St Martin Trust has been making annual awards for the best programmes about religion since 1978. As well as continuing to raise the profile of broadcast religious coverage through its awards, from 2014 the Trust will be working year-round to make the case for excellence in broadcasting about religion, ethics and spirituality and to stimulate debate about what religious broadcasting is and why it matters in today’s world.

The appointment of an Executive Secretary and the sponsoring of a session at the Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival reflect this expansion of the Trust’s work.

You can read more about the Trust at www.sandfordawards.org.uk

3) God: TV’s Holy Grail?

This session will take place from 3.15pm to 4.15pm on Friday 22 August at the Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival. It is chaired by Sian Williams, the presenter of BBC One’s Sunday Morning Live. The panellists are: Polly Toynbee, Vice President, British Humanist Association; Roger Bolton, Presenter of Radio 4’s Feedback and Trustee, Sandford St Martin Trust; Ralph Lee, Deputy Chief Creative Officer, Channel 4; Aaqil Ahmed, Head of Religion and Ethics, BBC; Tony Jordan, Managing Director, Red Planet Pictures.

The debate is being sponsored and co-produced by the Sandford St Martin Trust, with the support of the Jerusalem Trust and PictureWise Productions. It will be followed by the Trust’s drinks reception for Festival delegates.

See GEITF programme: http://www.geitf.co.uk/programme/god-tvs-holy-grail.

Double triumph for Schama’s The Story of the Jews at religious broadcasting awards

Today (Tuesday 3 June 2014), the Sandford St Martin Trust announced that the BBC’s The Story of the Jews scooped two top accolades at its annual broadcast awards. ‘Over the Rainbow’ – episode four of the five-part series – won both the Sandford St Martin Television Award and the Radio Times Readers Award. The series, presented by Simon Schama and produced by Oxford Film and Television for BBC Two, took a personal look at 3,000 years of Jewish history.

The Radio Award was won by I Have a Dream, produced by BBC Scotland Features for BBC Radio 4. Introduced by Professor Clayborne Carson, editor of the Martin Luther King papers, the programme brought together well-known personalities to read portions of the famous speech delivered by Martin Luther King in 1963. Readers included: the late Maya Angelou, American author and Civil Rights activist; Doreen Lawrence, mother of murdered British teenager Stephen Lawrence; His Holiness the Dalai Lama; and Stevie Wonder, American musician, singer and songwriter.

The Trust’s new award for Local, Community and Online productions went to Sounds Jewish: The Jewish Revival in Poland, a podcast produced by JW3: Jewish Community Centre for London and broadcast by guardian.com. The story follows Denise Grollmus as she travels to Poland to search out her ancestral roots.

Broadcaster Melvyn Bragg received the Personal Award. Roger Bolton, trustee of the Sandford St Martin Trust, said he was being recognised for: “putting religion at the heart of human experience and exploring it in such a way that it has enriched public discourse for decades”.

The late Sir John Tavener was also recognised, with the Trustees’ Award, for “the outstanding contribution his music has made to raising spiritual awareness, building bridges between people of all faiths and none”.

Speaking about the awards, The Rt Rev Nick Baines, Bishop-elect of Leeds and Chair of the Sandford St Martin Trust, said: “This year’s entrants were a true reflection of the quality and depth of religious broadcasting in this country.  While they all sought to illuminate, educate and entertain us, they also stretched our understanding – vital in the complex modern world.  More such broadcasting can only make us stronger as a society.”

See the Award Winners

See the full shortlist

For more information about photography, interviews or quotes from the judging panel, winners or trustees, please contact:

Julia Lewis (PR and Communications)
Phone:   07730 499144
Email:    julia@sandfordawards.org.uk 

Shortlist for Sandford St Martin Trust’s TV, Radio and Online Awards announced for 2014

Some of the country’s top programme-making talent has today been shortlisted for the UK’s most prestigious prizes for religious programming on television, radio and online – the Sandford St Martin Awards. See the full shortlist.

In Television, shortlisted films include episodes from series such as: Rageh Omaar’s ‘The Ottomans: Europe’s Muslim Emperors’ for BBC2; Simon Schama’s ‘The Story of the Jews’ uncovering life in Eastern European Shtetls, also for BBC2; ‘A Very British Ramadan’ from Channel 4’s series ‘4Ramadan’; ‘Wells’, from BBC4’s ‘Cathedrals’ series; a moving film about the Hillsborough disaster for BBC Religion & Ethics; and another about the dramatic history of Ulster’s Presbyterians for BBC2 Northern Ireland.

In Radio, the contenders include ‘A Road Trip to War’ on the BBC Asian Network, following British Muslims delivering aid to Syria; a thought-provoking look at the ups and downs of living alone, presented by Hardeep Singh Kohli on BBC Radio 2; ‘Mrs Livingstone I Presume’, about Mary, the wife of the great missionary and explorer, on Premier Radio; and Sir Mark Tully’s insightful account of the Maha Kumbh Mela, the largest religious festival in the world, for BBC Radio 4.

In the new Local, Community and Online category, the shortlist includes a YouTube video marking a 20-year campaign, challenging sexism and arguing for women’s ordination in the Roman Catholic Church; a Guardian podcast on the Jewish Revival in Poland; and a TrueTube video: ‘How Islam began – in ten minutes’. Local Bradford radio company, Whistling Frog, also secured a place with ‘Christmas Away Fans’ transmitted on Christmas Day.

The winners, who will share £10,000 in prize money, will be announced at a ceremony at Lambeth Palace, London, on Tuesday 3 June.

The awards will be presented by writer and broadcaster, Edward Stourton, who is chairing the TV judging panel, and author and playwright, Patrick Gale, chair of the radio and online panel.

Chair of the Sandford St Martin Trust, The Rt Rev Nick Baines, Bishop of Bradford and Bishop-designate for Leeds said:

The media are vital in shaping how we see and understand the world. This brings huge responsibility and challenge, particularly in relation to how matters of religion and faith are represented. Our awards aim to recognise and reward quality broadcasting about religious, spiritual and ethical practices and issues.”

Now in its 36th year the Sandford St Martin Trust promotes excellence in religious broadcasting.

The awards are open to any programme on television or radio or an online platform dealing with religious, ethical or spiritual issues.

For more information, contact:
Julia Lewis – 07730 499144 | julia@sandfordawards.org.uk

Follow us on Twitter: @Sandfordawards