Big stuff in a beautiful way with interesting people': the spiritual discourse in UK religious television

Caitriona Noonan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article critically examines changes in the style and tone of religious broadcasting. Increasingly, a discourse of spirituality and faith is used by television producers to describe and discuss their output in this area as spirituality is seen as a less contentious and more audience-friendly way of promoting faith-based programming. Significantly these themes continue to be framed within a recognisable set of religious traditions, mainly Christian. Combining interviews with producers in this area and analysis of the BBC series, Extreme Pilgrim (2008) this article examines the conventions of this new form of representation and how these are visualised and narrated. It analyses how a spiritual narrative is challenging traditional religious institutions and the new role it creates for broadcasters within lifestyle television. One of the key challenges for this treatment of themes of spirituality and faith is the use of inner experience and how this subjective position can be conveyed authentically through the medium of television. In a professional context which favours returning programme strands and output which minimises risk, this evolved style of programme format represents major challenges regarding its production and reproduction.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)727 - 746
Number of pages19
JournalEuropean Journal of Cultural Studies
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011


  • religious broadcasting
  • factual programming
  • television production


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