Write to the BBC

Our campaign was paused due to covid and lockdowns. Currently there are no plans to reopen the campaign. We are leaving the pages up for information, as one chapter in what is an ongoing national campaign.
If you wish to take individual action, please do write to the BBC to express your thoughts! 

Write to James Purnell, the BBC Director with responsibility for religion and ethics programming

You can email James Purnell at james.purnell@bbc.co.uk or write to him at Broadcasting House, Portland Place, Marylebone, London W1A 1AA

Below is suggested text.
You can download it as a word document here: Write to James Purnell

James Purnell
Director, Radio and Education
Broadcasting House
Portland Place, Marylebone
London W1A 1AA

Dear James Purnell,

Time to include Humanists on Radio 4 Thought for the Day

I am writing in support of the SELHuG campaign calling on the BBC to include Humanist thinkers and commentators on Thought for the Day.

Humanism is an important worldview which supports human rights and civic engagement alongside kindness and compassion, without the requirement to believe in a god.

Yet we barely hear about it. Most young people in the UK have never heard the word even though it may well reflect what they think.

It really is time therefore for the BBC to play its role in seeing, hearing and listening to all its audiences, and catering for the 50% of the British public who are not religious.

At the moment it is hard not to draw the conclusion that the BBC wants us to think that you have to be religious in order to be ethical.

As the SELHuG statement says:

“The BBC is failing in its legal duty to treat non-religious beliefs equally with religious beliefs, ‘belief’ being defined as “a collective belief in, or other adherence to, a systemised set of ethical or philosophical principles or of mystical or transcendental doctrines” (Communications Act 2003).

“The BBC is also failing its remit to reflect the diversity of beliefs of its audience and the wider population. Half the British population do not belong to any religion and at least 36% say they share humanist values. In Scotland where Humanist weddings are legal, more people choose them than ceremonies conducted by the Church of Scotland or any other denomination or faith. Amongst under-30 year olds in the UK, 70% have no faith.

Please start the process of change by including Humanists on Thought for the Day.

Yours etc.


James Purnell is sending a standard response to both letters and emails from campaign supporters. The text can be read below (link is to a pdf file) but please do keep writing – it will help the BBC to see how many people are concerned about this issue.

James Purnell – standard response to letters supporting SELHuG TFTD campaign