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BBC Radio 4’s long-running discussion programme The Moral Maze will pick up the coveted Trustees’ Award at the 2017 Sandford St Martin Awards for religious broadcasting it was announced today. The BBC’s Director of Radio and Education, James Purnell, will present the award at the star-studded awards ceremony, held at Lambeth Palace on Wednesday 7th June.


Announcing the recipient of the Trustees’ Award Rt. Rev Nick Baines, Lord Bishop of Leeds, the Trust’s Chair says: “We live in a complex world, and this programme takes these complexities seriously. It also refuses to collude with the notion that all arguments must be reduced to the simplistic or the slogan. Sometimes annoying, usually riveting, always worth the listen.”

The Moral Maze host Michael Buerk says: “The Moral Maze is a very special part of the BBC. It’s a highest common factor programme in an increasingly lowest common denominator world. It’s a cockpit for live argument about the rights and the wrong of the burning issue of the week. There’s nothing quite like it even on marvellous Radio 4. I’m very proud of it.”

Michael Buerk hosts Moral Maze (plus Anne McElvoy) copyright BBC

Provocative and engaging, The Moral Maze has been examining the ethical issues behind the week’s news stories since 1990.  Presented by respected journalist and broadcaster Michael Buerk since its inception, the series calls upon an eclectic panel of regular contributors drawn from the worlds of religion, politics and journalism including Claire Fox, Giles Fraser, Anne McElvoy, Michael Portillo, Melanie Phillips and Matthew Taylor.  Previous panelists include Rabbi Hugo Gryn, Geoffrey Robertson, Michael Gove and David Starkey.

One of the highlights of the Sandford St Martin awards ceremony, the prestigious Trustees’ Award is presented to a recipient who has shown a long term or significant commitment to creating thought-provoking, distinctive programming that engages with religion of all faiths, ethics or morality.

The Sandford St Martin Awards are designed to promote excellence in religious broadcasting, and to champion distinctive journalism and programming that intelligently interprets the world through a religious lens. The Trust encourages and advocates for religious literacy through public consultations, by producing events and providing training in partnership with other organisations throughout the year.

There are six awards in total, including the Radio Times Readers’ Award, voted for by its readers, and the coveted Trustees Award. High profile entries into this year’s awards include some the year’s most talked about television including A World Without Down’s Syndrome (Dragonfly Film and Television) in which actress and writer Sally Phillips examines the implications for society of a new 99% accurate test for Down’s Syndrome, and Children on the Frontline: The Escape (ITN Productions for Channel 4), a powerful film about the Syrian civil war capturing the span of these tragic events. Voting for the Radio Times Readers’ Award closes on 23rd May. To vote log on to



TV Award Shortlist

A World Without Down’s Syndrome – Dragonfly Film and Television for BBC 2

How To Die: Simon’s Choice – Minnow Films for BBC 2

Muslims Like Us – Love Productions/BBC for BBC 2

Children On The Frontline: The Escape – ITN Productions for CH4

Life and Death the Pentecostal Way – BBC Studios (Religion & Ethics) for BBC 2

The Selfless Sikh: Faith on the Frontline – BBC Studios (Religion & Ethics) for BBC 1


Radio Award Shortlist

The Deobandis (Part 2): BBC Radio Current Affairs for BBC Radio 4

Finding the Light: Production Company: BBC English regions (Religious Affairs) for BBC World Service

For Better or Worse: BBC Scotland Features for BBC Radio 4

Faith or Family: BBC Current Affairs for BBC Radio 4

All Things Considered – Aberfan 50 year anniversary: BBC Wales, Religious Programmes Team for BBC Radio Wales

Canada’s Atheist Minister: BBC Radio Production North for BBC World Service


Interview Award Shortlist

The Briefing Room (Jessie Morton, the jihadi who changed his mind) – BBC Radio Current Affairs for BBC Radio 4

The Doctor of Lampedusa – BBC News for BBC RADIO 4: PM programme

An Extremist in the Family – Dominic Casciani, Home Affairs Correspondent for BBC News

Marilynne Robinson on Fear – BBC Radio Production North for BBC World Service

Out of the Silence – BBC Radio Production North for BBC World Service

Beyond Belief: Marian Partington on Forgiveness: BBC Religion & Ethics Radio for BBC Radio 4


Children’s Award Shortlist 

Ruth’s Story – Fettle Animation for Newsround, CBBC

Refugee - CTVC Ltd for

Blue Peter: The Walk That Changed the World – CBBC Productions for CBBC

Some Father’s Son – duckrabbit for Youtube/Facebook/Extreme Dialogue website

Payback – duckrabbit for Youtube/Facebook/Extreme Dialogue website

Shia //Sunni – CTVC Ltd for


Radio Times Readers’ Award Shortlist

A World Without Down’s Syndrome – Dragonfly Film and Television for BBC 2

Amazon’s Christmas Advertising Campaign 2016 – Joint for Amazon

The Big Questions – Mentorn Scotland for BBC 1

The Battle for the Soul of Christianity – BBC Studios Pacific Quay Productions for BBC 1

Muslims Like Us – Love Productions for BBC 2

In the Footsteps of Judas – BBC Studios Pacific Quay Productions for BBC 1

PM: Eddie Mair interviews with Steve Hewlett – BBC Radio 4 PM Programme



About the Sandford St Martin Trust

The Sandford St Martin Trust is an independent, non-profit organisation. It has been making annual awards for the best programmes about religion, ethics and spirituality since 1978.


The Trust engages with a wide range of media organisations and individual journalists, filmmakers, broadcasters and other media figures, many of whom give their time and expertise voluntarily to support the Trust’s work. The Trust believes the media can be a powerful tool to increase understanding of different perspectives and beliefs in our world, helping create greater understanding, tolerance and thoughtfulness.


The Trust is politically independent and is not affiliated with any media company or organisation.  It does not proselytise on behalf of or promote any particular religion or faith, nor does it engage in religious activities itself.


You can read more about the Trust at





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