The BBC's religion and sports departments are to collaborate for the first time on a major project as part of a raft of new shows from BBC religion and ethics under its head, Alan Bookbinder, writes Leigh Holmwood
The BBC's religion and sports departments are to collaborate for the first time on a major project as part of a raft of new shows from BBC religion and ethics under its head, Alan Bookbinder, writes Leigh Holmwood.

The 60-minute Hand of God, to air on BBC 1, will explore how God and religion affects the lives of major sports stars, including boxer Prince Naseem Hamed, the Williams tennis sisters and golfer Bernhard Langer. It will be produced by Roger Childs and executive produced by Andrew Thompson and Hugh Faupel.

Other shows commissioned by Bookbinder, who joined the BBC a year ago, include 6 x 30-minute In a Country Parishfrom indie Tiger Aspect for BBC 2. Produced by Paul Sommers, the documentary follows a young vicar as he moves from a large urban parish to a small congregation in the heart of rural England.

A season of programmes for BBC 2 will also explore the history and practice of Buddhism. The 60-minute Life of the Buddha will use computer-generated images and location filming in Nepal and India to piece together Buddha's story, while the 60-minute Celebrity Buddhismwill look at famous people who have converted to the religion. The 50-minute Into the Mysticchallenges three recent converts to Buddhism to test their newfound faith. Ruth Pitt will executive produce all three pieces.

In addition, the Everymanstrand will screen three programmes testing the effects of different faiths on everyday lives.