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Songs Of Praise announces 60th anniversary plans

(BBC Songs of Praise/PA)
(BBC Songs of Praise/PA)

Songs Of Praise will mark its 60th anniversary next month with a special programme hosted at Westminster Abbey.

The celebratory episode will feature special guests, favourite hymns, musical collaborations and a message from the Queen.

The BBC show, the world’s longest-running religious television programme, will air its anniversary special on October 3.

An additional episode, titled Where It All Began, will look back at key moments from the last 60 years and air on September 26.

The show, which reaches more than one million viewers a week, was first broadcast in 1961 and has produced nearly 3,000 programmes since.

One of its main presenters, Aled Jones, said: “I’ve been a Songs Of Praise presenter for over 20 years and it’s one of the biggest joys of my life.

“It is an honour to be able to share uplifting stories of faith with our dear audience and to gladden hearts with music that means the world to me.

“Here’s to a future filled with wonderful Songs Of Praise!”

Jones, who first featured on the show as a child in 1988, will be joined by fellow presenters from the past and present, including Katherine Jenkins, Sally Magnusson and David Grant.

Classic Brit Awards 2018
Aled Jones is one of the show’s longest-serving presenters (Isabel Infantes/PA)

The show hosted its largest congregation in January 2000 when it aired from Millennium Stadium in Cardiff to celebrate the new millennium.

Patrick Holland, director of BBC factual, arts and classical music, said: “For 60 years, Songs Of Praise has held a very special place on BBC One.

“Never has this been more important than the past year, when as churches had to close their doors, Songs Of Praise continued to bring together people of faith across the UK every Sunday.

“It is a great honour to pay tribute to the world’s longest running religious television programme, long may it continue.”

Songs Of Praise series editor Matthew Napier added: “Through the singing of hymns and worship songs and by featuring ordinary Christians putting their faith into action in remarkable ways, Songs Of Praise has reached its 60th by continuing to bring joy, comfort and spiritual enrichment to audiences across the UK.”

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