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Inspire Your RE Class with the Sandford St Martin Awards

At ERA we recognise the importance of broadcast material to give context to topics that can be abstract, or hard to grasp, for students. Depictions and discussions of faith on television and radio programmes can be a gateway into learning about different cultures and beliefs. The Sandford St Martin Awards recognise excellence in programming around religious topics – what better broadcast content could be provided for an RE class?

We’ve written a round-up of (available!) material from our member’s nominated programmes below – all of which would be ideal for starting a class discussion about faith, philosophy, or ethics.

For more information and a full list of nominees, check out The Sandford St Martin Awards’ Twitter feed @Sandfordawards or website at http://sandfordawards.org.uk/


Television Nominations

The Ark (originally shown, March 2015, BBC1)- was a dramatic retelling of the story of Noah’s Ark, a clip from the programme, where Noah tries to convince others to join him in his boat, is still available on the programme’s microsite.

“You must tell your families to come to the Ark” clip: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02n60ch


Songs of Praise from the Jungle, Calais (originally show, August 2015, BBC1) – last year Sunday night staple Songs of Praise took the bold move to broadcast an episode from a church in Calais refugee camp. Whilst this stirred controversy in some quarters, the overwhelming response to the programme was a positive one.

A clip from the episode, meeting the people living in the refugee camp is available at the link below: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02zykp6


My Son the Jihadi (originally shown, October 2015, Channel4) – a moving and extremely personal documentary follows Sally Evans in the aftermath of her son travelling to Somalia to join an Islamist terrorist group.

The full programme, along with some shorter extract clips, is available via All4 here:  http://www.channel4.com/programmes/my-son-the-jihadi


Muslim Drag Queens (originally show August 2015, Channel4) asks how gay Muslims in the drag community can publicly reconcile their sexuality with their cultural identity and traditions.

The full programme is available via All4 here: http://www.channel4.com/programmes/muslim-drag-queens


Joan of Arc: God’s Warrior (originally shown May 2015, BBC2), tells the story of the Maid of Orléans who led the French army against the English during the Hundred Years’ War.

Three clips from the programme are available at this link:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05x31w3/clips


Genius of the Ancient World: the Buddha (originally shown August 2015, BBC4)- this documentary explores the life and works of the Buddha.

A clip from the programme is still available via this BBC microsite:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02yd313


A Deadly Warning: Srebrenica Revisited (originally shown July 2015, BBC1) – a harrowing documentary to mark the 20th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre. Journalist Myriam François-Cerrah travels to Bosnia to visit the site with a group of young people – all born in the year of the genocide.

In this clip from the BBC, women who lost husbands and sons in the genocide take the film crew around the cemetery – an internationally recognized Memorial Centre.

Meeting the ‘Mothers of Srebrenica’: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02w7r9t


Radio Nominations

Lost Children of the Holocaust (Originally aired, August 2015, BBC World Service)

From the BBC:

Following the end of the World War Two, the BBC began a series of special radio appeals on behalf of a group of children who had survived the Holocaust but were now stranded as orphans in post-war Europe. A recording of one of these moving broadcasts still exists in the BBC archives. Seventy years on, Alex Last set out to find out what had happened to the 12 children named in this recording.

Programme available in full here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02qh7v5


Shoah in Jerusalem (Originally aired December 2015, BBC Radio 4) – the extraordinary story of the day Claude Lanzmann’s epic Holocaust documentary, Shoah, was premiered in Israel. Writer and broadcaster Jonathan Freedland interviews people present at the Jerusalem premiere thirty years ago.

Programme available in full here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06rwgd1


Objections at the Wedding (Heart and Soul) (Originally aired June 2015, BBC Radio World Service)

From the BBC:

Many traditional religious Americans feel under attack. As the US Supreme Court decides on the future of same-sex marriage, journalist Gary Younge takes a step back to understand the anger, the concerns and the personal faith-based objections to the issue.

Programme available in full here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02tmct1


Divided in Death (Heart and Soul) (Originally aired November 2015, BBC World Service)

The Heart and Soul strand investigates the rise of interfaith areas in Jewish cemeteries.

Programme available in full here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0364kx1


Growing Up in Multi Faith Britain (originally aired October 2015, BBC Radio 2)

Unfortunately the programme is currently unavailable, but the microsite still remains:



In Search of Moderate Muslims (Originally aired March 2015, BBC Radio4)

From the BBC:

Sarfraz Manzoor asks if moderate Muslims exist and, if not, where did they go?

Sarfraz describes himself as a moderate Muslim. He says he can’t get too offended by a cartoon and belongs firmly among the liberal and progressive. But he wonders if he is now something of an oddity.

Is the idea of tolerance and integration a hopeful myth and the reality something more troubling? We’re often told the vast majority of Muslims in Britain are moderate – but what exactly does that mean?

Programme available in full here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b055g740