Newspaper launches alternative Thought for the Day

By staff writers
February 9, 2009

The Guardian has today launched an alternative to the BBC’s long running Thought for the Day slot, broadcast at 7.50am in the morning on Radio 4.

Called “Another Thought for the Day”, the Thoughts will be available as podcasts on the newspaper’s website.

Unlike the BBC’s production, the thoughts aim to be inclusive and feature agnostic, humanist and atheist voices, as well as those from minor religions – something which the BBC has so far refused to do.

Contributors will include Claire Rayner, AC Grayling, Muriel Gray, Polly Toynbee, Mark Thomas, the former Bishop of Edinburgh, Richard Holloway as well as Ekklesia’s co-director Jonathan Bartley, who was himself a BBC Thought for the Day presenter.

Bartley was dropped from the BBC slot, after he went on the BBC’s flagship news programme ‘Today’ and called for Thought for the Day to be opened up to more than just voices from the major world religions.

The idea of an alternative and inclusive Thought for the Day follows the establishment 2 years ago, of a Thought for the World web site.

A Humanist, Juliet Wilson, decided that rather than complain to the BBC, it might be more productive to create some alternative podcasts where secular and religious thinkers could offer a wider perspective on moral and ethical issues.

As a small charity with limited resources, it has run for a couple of weeks a year and featured contributors like AC Grayling, Julian Baggini, Stewart Lee, Arthur Smith and Maryam Namazie.

Now, the Guardian has taken up the idea, and podcasts will be recorded every day at the Guardian’s studios in London. Contributors will have 2 minutes to deliver 400 words that are topical and reflective.

The only stipulation is that they must be neither anti-religious, anti-atheist, nor anti-BBC.

You can read about the politics behind the BBC’s Thought for the Day slot, and what happened when Jonathan Bartley called for a broadening of Thought for the Day here

You can listen to Another Thought for the Day on the Guardian website here

You can visit the Thought for the World web site here

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