Readers of Radio Times have voted in their thousands to name Call the Midwife the winner of the Radio Times Faith Award at the Sandford St Martin Awards for religious broadcasting. The popular drama was recognised for its fourth episode of series five which saw Sister Julienne (Jenny Agutter) deal with a sick baby whose mother’s Chrsitiant Scientist beliefs prevented her child from receiving antibiotics.
The BBC series – which also stars Helen George and Charlotte Ritchie – saw off competition from a shortlist made up of The Ark, Songs of Praise from the Jungle, Calais, Children of the Gaza War, A Song for Jenny and David Suchet in the Footsteps of St Peter.
Fellow winners at last night’s ceremony included Channel 4 documentary My Son the Jihadi which picked up the TV Award for True Vision, Gary Younge’s documentary Objections at the Wedding (Heart and Soul) which took home the Radio Award and CBBC’s The Boy on Bicycle (My Life) which won the Children’s Award.
The inaugural prize for Interview of the Year was awarded to A Mother’s Good Friday: Diane Foley, a podcast featuring the mother of murdered journalist James Foley. The 2016 Sandford St Martin Trustees’ Award went to Joan Bakewell in recognition of her outstanding commitment to religious and ethical broadcasting over six decades.
The ceremony – which took place at Lambeth Palace – also saw an address from the Archbishop of Canterbury who called 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,” he added in reference to last month’s white paper. “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.”