Media Centre

Bishop pays tribute to the Revd Ernie Rea

The Bishop of Wakefield, the Rt Revd Nigel McCulloch, today paid tribute to the Revd Ernest Rea, the BBC's Head of Religion and Ethics, whose retirement was announced yesterday.

"We are sad that Ernie Rea's time has come to an end at the BBC and acknowledge his long service and significant contribution to religious programming. His tenure has come during a most difficult and challenging period of change in the broadcasting industry."

Bishop Nigel, who chairs the group set up earlier this year by the General Synod to report on the monitoring of religious output, said the Church of England was keen to encourage the BBC to sustain and develop a broad range of religious programming across the schedules.

"I welcome the Director General's commitment, which was re-expressed yesterday by the BBC, to strengthen the output of Religious Broadcasting and to reflect the range and diversity of religious and spiritual life in Britain," he said.

"The churches attach great importance to these assurances and we will continue to watch closely the output and scheduling of religious programmes on the BBC and ITV."