I’ve seen the 110 programs before, but I came back for another viewing, and I’m almost all the way through this second round.
It seems that the churches are portrayed as benign at best, but the personnel are depicted as failed people who can’t keep the congregation size up. The “vicar” is usually always trying to raise money for a new roof. The main characters usually have only a distant commitment to any church, maybe for a wedding ceremony or a funeral.
Now, I’m in the tail end of the 18 “series” of programs and the “new” assistant detective “DS Wilson” (detective sergeant) repeats a line that the previous sidekick DS Jones made inside a church in an earlier episode: “This place gives me the creeps.” To me, there isn’t anything specifically targeted, just the whole place gives him the “creeps.”
Also, in a negative stereotype specifically of the Catholic Church, there were just four surviving sisters in a monastery, one of whom it turns out was a murderous nun. So, the sun sets on that episode with just two or three remaining sisters in a rather massive complex. And, a strong hint of materialism emerges that the youngest and most recently professed sister will actually inherit the estate of the monastery, when (not if) the monastery ceases operation. So, we see her biding her time until the inheritance falls to her.
I hear over and over that England is very secular, as undoubtedly reflected in this long-running popular program. I wonder what the statistics are on active church membership there, Catholics in particular?