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World News

Songs of Praise to celebrate 60th anniversary with special show

by Reuters Journalist

'Songs Of Praise' is putting on a special episode to mark its 60th anniversary next month.

The one-off programme will be filmed at Westminster Abbey and feature a message from Queen Elizabeth, special guests as well as the usual mix of hymns and musical collaborations. 

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

The episode will follow-up an additional one-off 'Songs of Praise' titled 'Where It All Began', which will look back at some of the most memorable moments since the first episode was shown in October 1961, and will be shown this Sunday (26.9.21).

One of its main presenters, 'Walking in the Air' singer Aled Jones, suggested hosting the programme for two decades has been "one of the biggest joys of my life"

He 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!”

Aled actually made his very first appearance on the programme in 1988, when he sang when he was a child, and he'll be joined for the one-off special by the likes of fellow show hosts from past and present, including  Katherine Jenkins, Sally Magnusson and David Grant.

Over the years 'Songs of Praise' has also featured some very high profile guest presenters from the world of music in particular, including Sir Cliff Richard and Charlotte Church.

Patrick Holland, who is the director of factual, arts and classical music explains why the show holds such a "special place on BBC One" and has served such a purpose over "the past year".

He 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.”

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