Songs Of Praise viewers nearly doubles church attendances

NEARLY TWICE as many people over 65 watches BBC Television s Songs Of Praise as go to church, and more than half of them describe it as a spiritual experience. In fact, for around a quarter of the nine million people in that age bracket the programme is essential viewing each Sunday evening. The over 65s account for just over half the viewing audience for the programme. It is least popular with those aged 35 to 44, who also register the lowest church attendance.

Dr Peter Brierley, Director of Christian Research, which compiled the figures, believes the programme's popularity with older people stems from the many traditional hymns it contains. A person who was 70 this year, would have been born in 1930, he points out. This was a time when 48% of all children attended Sunday school. Almost certainly therefore Songs Of Praise will bring back childhood memories amongst older viewers. It may remind them of a faith once expressed and continued throughout life, or remembered now with wistful-ness and perhaps a longing to return before their day closes.

Age Church Songs Of Praise
Range attendance viewers
15-34 750,000 550,000
35-44 550,000 300,000
45-54 600,000 450,000
55-64 600,000 700,000
65 plus 1,250,000 2,200,000 CR

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