Westminster Abbey

Series 1 - Episode 2

Westminster Abbey
Radio Times
Review by:
Jane Rackham

First some stats: 1,000 tourists per hour visit the Abbey – that’s 1.2 million per year – raising 90 per cent of its running costs (£11 million per year) from the £16 a head admission (there’s no fee if you’re attending a service).

While we’re digesting that, the focus moves from the glorious interior of the Abbey to the choir’s trip to Rome to sing with the Sistine Chapel Choir in St Peter’s Basilica. While the awed Dean marvels that this can happen after centuries of division and disagreement between the two churches, one small chorister neatly sums up the experience as “amazing – but boiling”.

About this programme

2/3. The choir prepares for a historic visit to Rome to sing with the Sistine Chapel Choir at a papal Mass in St Peter's Basilica, having received an invitation from Pope Benedict XVI after his visit to the Abbey in 2010. Minor Canon the Rev Dr James Hawkey and his fiancee Carol Ripley tie the knot in the first wedding to take place at the High Altar since that of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Canon steward the Venerable Dr Jane Hedges explains the central role of tourism, while a few archaeological surprises are unearthed when building for a new cafe gets under way.

Cast and crew

Crew

Executive Producer
Leonie Jameson
Series Producer
Flavia Rittner
Categories
Documentary