Gogglebox vicar: Songs of Praise is 'like a piece of soggy quiche'

Rev Kate Bottley with husband Graham and dog Buster.Channel 4

Rev Kate Bottley has denounced Songs of Praise as "depressing", insisting that religious TV programmes should instead be "brave, bold and at times controversial".

Bottley quickly became a household favourite after starring on Channel 4's Bafta-winning Gogglebox along with her husband, Buster the dog (who even has his own Twitter account) and an array of charming tea cosies.

Vicar of the churches of Blyth, Scrooby and Ranskill in North Nottinghamshire, Bottley said in an interview with the Radio Times that Songs of Praise is "great for those who can't get out to church".

However, she also said the show, which first aired in 1961 and has been touted as the most-watched religious TV programme in Britain, "feels nostalgic for a post-war era that was never that great."

"It doesn't show the doubt, the questions and the massive wobbles that being a Christian brings, after all, it's not all harvest festivals and cheery smiles," she said.

"There are always the token cute kids in school/guide/beaver/air cadet uniform, the Mothers' Union/Women's Institute contingent and some poor bloke who's been dragged there reluctantly and hasn't been in church since his wedding 40 years ago: 'Oh do shut up, Derek, and come along, we might get on the telly!'"

Bottley suggested that faith-based broadcasting should "challenge" viewers, rather than being "bland and easy to swallow". She cited Tom Hollander's Rev as an example of a TV show that doesn't "skip over the dark and messy bits" of Christian faith.

"If this [Songs of Praise] is the best that primetime religious broadcasting has to offer, it's like a piece of soggy quiche...It should be spicy and flavoursome. Primetime religious programmes should be the most talked-about shows of the week," she added.

The Bottleys will return to Gogglebox on September 26 at 9pm on Channel 4.