Gogglebox star Rev Kate Bottley (opens in new tab) has criticised BBC One show Songs Of Praise for being 'depressing' and 'like a piece of soggy quiche'.
The vicar, who has become an unlikely TV favourite since appearing on Channel 4 show Gogglebox, praised presenters Aled Jones and Diane Louise Jordan, and said that the Sunday teatime show was 'great for those who can't get out to church'.
But she hit out at the 'over-exaggerated mouth movements, as if the singers are trying to chew a toffee at the same time', and the congregations, adding: "I've never seen an Anglican church so full on a Sunday evening... and with such a huge variety of ages."
She told Radio Times: "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!'"
The vicar said that religious broadcasting had a duty to 'challenge' and be 'brave, bold and at times controversial'.
"It shouldn't be bland and easy to swallow, it should be spicy and flavoursome. Primetime religious programmes should be the most talked-about shows of the week", she said.
Songs Of Praise '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', she said, adding, 'after all, it's not all harvest festivals and cheery smiles'.
Patrick McLennan is a London-based journalist and documentary maker who has worked as a writer, sub-editor, digital editor and TV producer in the UK and New Zealand. His CV includes spells as a news producer at the BBC and TVNZ, as well as web editor for Time Inc UK. He has produced TV news and entertainment features on personalities as diverse as Nick Cave, Tom Hardy, Clive James, Jodie Marsh and Kevin Bacon and he co-produced and directed The Ponds, which has screened in UK cinemas, BBC Four and is currently available on Netflix.
An entertainment writer with a diverse taste in TV and film, he lists Seinfeld, The Sopranos, The Chase, The Thick of It and Detectorists among his favourite shows, but steers well clear of most sci-fi.
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