This annual award is part of the Sandford St Martin awards for radio, TV and online programmes touching on faith, belief and ethics. Winners are usually announced at a gala ceremony at Lambeth Palace but, this year, because of the pandemic, excerpts from shortlisted entries will be digitally streamed, along with comments from the judges, on Thursday 11 June at 6pm.
To help pick the winner of the Radio Times Readers’ Award 2020, choose from this shortlist of six programmes:
The Archers Radio 4
Radio 4’s long-running continuing drama has put faith firmly at the heart of its storylines. Various characters have searched their souls over their belief (or struggles with) in the past 12 months, with Jim Lloyd’s historic sexual abuse a powerful factor in his antipathy to religion. But it’s the church-going Shula’s spiritual journey that has attracted our attention most. First, she was accused of being a hypocrite for breaking her marriage vows and seeking a divorce; now she’s training for the priesthood.
How the Other Kids Live Channel 4 (episode one, February 2019)
Children from different backgrounds meet for playdates. Tom and Billy live on an affluent street. Brendan lives with his mum and three siblings. Yasmin, a Muslim, comes from a family of proud “Afro Brummies”. “Do you believe in God?” one boy asks. “Yeah,” replies Yasmin. He says, “Oh,” and that’s that. Peace in our time.
Miriam’s Dead Good Adventure BBC2 (April 2019)
Miriam Margolyes, last seen playing a nun in Call the Midwife, presents a two-part documentary exploring the subject of mortality. She deals with profound questions about life and death with sensitivity and, occasionally, a light touch.
Good Omens Amazon Prime (May 2019)
Mini-series based on the 1990 novel by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. A co-production between Amazon Studios and BBC Studios, the six-episode series was created and written by Gaiman, who also served as showrunner. The ensemble cast, led by David Tennant, Michael Sheen, Miranda Richardson, Jack Whitehall and Jon Hamm, with Frances McDormand as the voice of God, play along with Pratchett and Gaiman’s idea of the sacred — and the profane.
Three Vicars Talking Radio 4 (August 2019)
In this episode of Radio 4’s surprise summer hit, media-friendly clerics Rev Richard Coles, Rev Kate Bottley and Canon Giles Fraser candidly discuss the part they play during funeral services. It’s part of a series that was touching, poignant and often funny.
Peter Taylor: My Journey through the Troubles BBC2 (August 2019)
The veteran BBC journalist gives a powerful, personal account of 50 years’ reporting from Northern Ireland, reflecting on the carnage and changes he has seen in a society divided along religious lines, from the start of his career covering the aftermath of Bloody Sunday to the present day.