Here’s a useful round- up from The Conversation of recent hopeful developments in the UK for investigative and local journalism.
Refreshingly different portrayal of a vicar on BBC TV in the episode of New Tricks last night. This is the series about a team of semi-retired detectives who investigate cold cases when new evidence comes to light. Last night’s story involved the vicar of an urban parish who, with his wife and own daughter, had taken in the stroppy teenage girl whose mother, an illegal immigrant slated for removal to her country of origin, had unaccountably disappeared. The plot’s more complicated than that and definitely worth a watch!
The Vicar was played by comedian-actor Hugh Dennis. (His father was a bishop and ordained me deacon in 1983!). But this was not the usual stereotypical TV vicar. There was no “dog collar” in sight. He wore jeans and a red top; spoke like other people, had a wife and daughter, was a gentle person trying to put his faith into practice; gave a good party, could relate to people of different origins and backgrounds, and was not goody-goody or “holier than thou”. When the team first met him he was on his knees in front of the altar – praying? – no, trying to get candle-wax off the carpet!
Hopefully here’s a sign there are at least some of those writing and producing for the BBC who see the Church of England with open eyes.