All Change At Songs Of Praise? BBC Will No Longer Produce Popular Christian TV Programme

Current Songs of Praise presenters Pam Rhodes, Aled Jones and Diane-Louise Jordan.BBC/Emilie Sandy

The BBC's Songs Of Praise, a staple of Sunday afternoon television for generations, is going to be produced by independent companies. It has always been made in house by the BBC but as part of the Corporation's new charter, many big name shows are being outsourced.

Songs Of Praise is thought to employ around 30 people at its base in Media City, Salford. It's thought some of the same staff will carry on when the show is made by Avanti Media and Nine Lives Media.

Although the change has been expected, broadcasting trade union BECTU is warning that some staff feel badly treated at being moved from staff jobs at the BBC. Spokesman Gerry Morrissey said: 'BECTU is also disappointed that today's BBC announcement does not recognise the huge contribution made by long-serving staff on Songs of Praise. The union will be demanding that the BBC sits up and takes the demands of staff seriously.'

The BBC's Dan McGolpin, controller of programming and daytime, said: 'Songs of Praise is absolutely core to our religious programming and following a competitive tendering process. We have agreed a three-year contract for the series to be produced by Avanti and Nine Lives... They bring years of experience in producing religious and non-religious music programmes and they will retain the essential elements of the show that viewers value so highly.'

Avanti has previously worked with music stars like Katherine Jenkins and Bryn Terfel, while Nine lives Media specialises in making documentaries such as Dispatches and Panorama.