Paisley Abbey is the star of the BBC One program Songs of Praise


Paisley Abbey will star on Sunday’s BBC Songs of Praise show.

Producers of the religious program, along with presenter Katherine Jenkins, visited the town at the end of March and Abbey staff have been told to keep the visit secret until now.

Katherine spoke to the Reverend Elspeth McKay, the first female minister at Paisley Abbey, as well as George McPhee, the Abbey’s music director.

Linda Bartlett, manager of Paisley Abbey, said: ‘It was a beautiful day when they came here, the sun was shining. Katherine interviewed Elspeth in the cloister and it was wonderful.

“The producers were also interested in asking us about the gargoyles, especially the alien, so that might be part of that.

“They filmed inside the abbey and also spoke to George.”

Katherine Jenkins with Reverend Elspeth McKay of Paisley Abbey

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This is not the first time that 859-year-old Paisley Abbey has featured on the long-running BBC programme. Producers last visited in 2013 to mark its 850th anniversary, with traditional hymns and songs sung inside and presenter Sally Magnusson learning about the origins of the famous Paisley pattern.

The Reverend Elspeth McKay took over as minister at the Abbey from the Reverend Alan Birss, who retired last August after 32 years in the role.

She said: “We were delighted to welcome Songs of Praise to Paisley Abbey.

“I hope viewers enjoy seeing the Abbey and our town on the show.”

Katherine met the Reverend Elspeth McKay and Music Director, George McPhee, who demonstrated the Abbey’s magnificent 150-year-old organ.

Katherine also spoke to Russell Macmillan, who is registered as blind, who explained why he helps people in need in East Renfrewshire with small acts of kindness that make a big difference.

Local Christian Liz New told Katherine why she felt compelled to help Ukrainians, and the show looks at what other Christian charities are doing to help.

YolanDa Brown meets John and Isobel Gibson of Callander, whose faith helped them cope when their son Cameron tragically committed suicide.

The show features comforting and uplifting music from across Scotland, including the hymns Praise My Soul the King of Heaven and All My Hope on God Is Founded, and a performance of What a Friend We Have in Jesus by the band Celtic Worship.

The episode, titled Living Faith in Paisley, is due to air at 1.15pm on BBC One on Sunday April 24.

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