Hymn of praise to churches is TV hit

A SHEFFIELD lawyer’s passion for churches has resulted in the chance of a national TV award.

Richard Taylor, partner at DLA Piper’s Sheffield office, had the opportunity last year to turn his bestselling non-fiction book into a six-part series on BBC4.

Presented by Richard himself, Churches: How to Read Them explored 1,400 years of history and faith in Britain, guiding viewers through the imagery, symbols and architecture of English parish churches and how they have inspired, moved and enraged people through the centuries.

Now the series has been shortlisted for the national Sandford St Martin’s Award, which recognises excellence in religious television programmes.

Richard said: “What started out as a small enthusiast’s book for a small enthusiasts’ market has snowballed into something much bigger than I could ever have expected.

“I’ve always found churches fascinating places – they speak volumes, not just about faith and history, but about ourselves as we are today – and I feel incredibly lucky to have had the chance to explore and share them in such detail.

“The series is less of a religious journey, more one that tracks our past right through from the dark pagan cultures to the modern day digital age.

“Most importantly, it was developed to entertain and I’m extremely proud that it has been enjoyed by so many.

“To have the series recognised by these awards is a huge honour.”

Richard filmed over six weeks, travelling the length and breadth of Britain to around 70 churches.

“Despite a gruelling filming schedule, it was a privilege to have the chance to visit these glorious buildings, lead a different life for a few weeks and to stand in front of a camera and tell people about something you love.”

The awards take place at Lambeth Palace on May 17.