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Describe, analyse and explain the variety of specifically religious programmes on the four terrestrial TV channels.

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Introduction

Religion and the Media Question (a) (i) - Describe, analyse and explain the variety of specifically religious programmes on the four terrestrial TV channels. With the advent of television broadcasting, all the television-broadcasting companies were expected to show programmes with a religious theme. These were mostly aired on Sundays, and were aimed at regular Christian worshippers. Religious broadcasting now is aimed at a different audience, due to the decline in numbers of churchgoers. The target audience is the vaguely religious, although there are still programmes for the committed followers. Religious broadcasts are still shown today for a number of reasons: * 80% of the UK still believes in God. * Congregation numbers, although declining, are still sizable. * Religious and moral issues often generate interest in a broader audience than purely religious people. * Television should cater for all interests. * There is a duty to update people on important topics, of which religion is one. Each television company is required to devote a certain quantity of religious broadcasts per year. BBC 1 shows 80 hours, BBC 2 20 hours, ITV 100 hours, Channel 4 52 hours and Channel 5 approximately 50 hours. There is such a small amount because British Society has an increasingly diverse ethnicity; meaning less people are inclined to watch specifically Christian broadcasts. The secular society has also grow, creating even less demand for worship programmes. Television broadcasting is now very modern, and so more hours are devoted to broadcasting films, cartoons and soaps etc. to meet demands, leaving fewer hours for less popular religious broadcasting. ...read more.

Middle

Robert and Nicola could have had an argument, highlighting the different areas on concern relating to this issue. Or they could both have run away together. These are just a few alternative ways of dealing with the issue within the soap. Also, a documentary style fly-on-the-wall programme could have been produced, interviewing several parties involved in a real life situation. Or a television drama could have re-enacted a similar situation based on a true-life story. I think the soap opera was a good way of dealing with the issue because it relays the characters' thoughts and feelings in a fair way, showing both sides, whilst not casting judgement on them, and remaining fictitious so that no party involved receives any backlash from the show. The way in which the soap opera dealt with the situation was sensitive and unbiased and showed some quite old-fashioned views, but that is the reaction that most likely would occur in a similar community. Question (a) (iii) - Describe, analyse and explain the way in which a religious or moral issue has been dealt with in a TV drama or film. The religious theme of concern that I studied is that of marriage versus cohabitation. The film that I analysed was the 1994 box office hit Four Weddings and a Funeral, starring Hugh Grant as Charles and Andie MacDowall as Carrie. The strap line to the film is "Five good reasons to stay single." The message of the film is an advert for cohabitation, rather than marriage. ...read more.

Conclusion

Another programme that showed religious people as being modern was The Simpsons. Although the Flanders family use old-fashioned language and are very proper and formal, they alongside almost the entire congregation were willing for the church to be commercialised and "modernised" to save the building. Then Lisa disagrees and looks for other religions, she is not accepting to the change of the Christian church, but embraces a new religion, Buddhism. Here she is both resisting change and accepting it. The Buddhists are shown to be trendy people, with Richard Geer, a big film star, a prevalent character. This celebrity endorsement of religion is a very modern concept. Examples of programmes that show religious people as out of touch are Songs of Praise. This programmes attracts a much older, more traditional audience than the previously mentioned programmes. The format is formal and in the style of a traditional service, with lots of hymns to sing along to. Generally the presenters and congregations shown are older people with smart dress and proper language. The absence of modern, popular music, slang words, abbreviations and informal language, and casual dress makes this programme appear to be presenting religious people as out of touch with the modern world. In conclusion, I disagree with the statement that on television religious people are always shown to be out of touch with the modern world, because in many cases they are not. The evidence shows that within one programme there can be a variety of representations of religious people, and certainly there is between programmes. This is probably due to the changing society where all aspects of life are continually being modernised to fit in with the 21st Century lifestyle, including religion. ...read more.

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