1 9 6 1 – Current (UK)
The longest-running religious TV programme in the world was first seen and heard on 1 October 1961. The first edition came from the Tabernacle Baptist Chapel in Cardiff, with guest soloist Heather Harper.
The programme showcases congregational hymn singing up and down the land and, although church attendance has declined over the life of the programme, the pews were always uncharacteristically full when the cameras turned up – and the local hat shop always did a roaring trade when Songs Of Praise came to town.
In 1992 subtitles were introduced in response to the demands of viewers who wanted to sing along at home, creating a nationwide congregation.
Over 200 people have presented Songs of Praise since its beginning, including Geoffrey Wheeler, Cliff Michelmore, Karen Keating, Alan Titchmarsh, Sally Magnusson and Aled Jones.
The position of Songs of Praise as part of the fabric of national life was acknowledged when it appeared in the plots of The Brittas Empire and The Vicar of Dibley.
In 2011 MPs signed an Early Day Motion acclaiming the programme.