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BBC prepares for extensive coverage of Benedict XVI’s visit to UK


A historic event the director general of the largest public broadcaster in England, was a part of.

Mark Thompson
BBC, Director-General

“I was part to the team that covered the last time a pope visited the U.K  it was John Paul II in 1982, it was an enormous event.”

During a speaking engagement at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Mark Thompson of the BBC said his team is gearing up to cover the pope’s visit from all angles and on all media platforms.

Mark Thompson
BBC, Director-General

“The BBC will try to make sure that across TV, radio and the web we’re there to cover everything the pope does in the U.K and give the audience a sense of being there and being part of this historic event.”

But the BBC’s history of covering religious topics is quite irregular. Several stories on Jesus Christ or Christianity have been widely considered offensive and even anti-Christian.

Some viewers have accused the public broadcaster of ignoring its Christian audience and dedicating more of its coverage to minority religions.

80 percent of the population in the U.K is made up of Christians. About 5 million are Catholic.

Mark Thompson
BBC, Director-General

“We have been broadcasting religious programs for many decades we still have every week many things on the air about Christianity, but there maybe some who believe we should do more than what we do.”

Thompson says over the past couple of years they’ve been taking a more creative approach to covering religion.

Mark Thompson
BBC, Director-General

“We had sort of a reality show a couple of years ago, called Monastery, we took a group of ordinary guys putting them in a monastery together to get a sense of what monastic life maybe like and how they can learn about their own spiritual growth.”

That was in 2006, now in 2010 the BBC is pulling out all the stops to cover the pope’s visit including producing a documentary on Cardinal John Henry Newman.

The pope will beatify Newman during the first papal visit to the U.K in more than 2 decades.