The world-renowned classical singer Katherine Jenkins is to join the BBC's flagship Christian worship programme Songs of Praise as a main presenter.
Jenkins' debut on the show will air on Sunday July 23, where she will explore uplifting stories of faith from the Sussex seaside town of Hastings, the BBC announced yesterday. The broadcaster said that a highlight of the show will be the classical star's performance of the beloved hymn Jerusalem.
'Having watched Songs Of Praise for as long as I can remember and after the many appearances on the show over the past 12 years, it is wonderful to officially become part of the family,' Jenkins said.
'I am hugely excited about my new role, about working with my friend Aled [Jones] again and about meeting and worshipping with new people across the country.'
Jenkins is a multi-award-winning mezzo-soprano singer, who has previously performed for figures including the Queen and the Pope. She recently became the most successful artist in UK classical chart history when her album Celebration became her 12th UK number one in 12 years.
The programme will also see new presenter Sean Fletcher, who debuted on July 9, meeting the famed Christian choral group VOCES8, and learning of their ambitions to encourage singing among young men.
Fletcher, a former reporter on BBC News and Countryfile, said: 'Songs Of Praise has been part of Britain's TV fabric for over 50 years. As a Christian I'm thrilled to be joining the team and look forward to exploring both my own beliefs and others.'
Fletcher and Jenkins will join the long-established Songs of Praise hosts Aled Jones and Pamela Rhodes.
Fatima Salaria, the commissioning editor of Religion and Ethics for the BBC, said: 'Sean is a highly experienced presenter while Katherine brings both broadcasting experience and unique talents. I am confident they will be excellent additions to the current much-loved Songs Of Praise presenting team.
'Katherine's personable approach to faith and worship further enriches this BBC One flagship programme and offers the programme the opportunity to connect, not only with current viewers, but also new audiences.'