Heaven on Earth

6 x 25 min Documentary

This unique series explores how six major world religions have expressed the spiritual yearnings of the faithful in architecture and art. From the megaliths of prehistoric man to the great mosques, temples and cathedrals of the last two millennia, religion has inspired some of the most breathtaking artefacts, the most extreme devotion and the greatest human effort.


  • Executive Producer – David Farrell
  • Producer – Stephen Rooke
  • Director – Stephen Rooke
  • Presenter – Christy Kenneally
  • Writer – Christy Kenneally
  • Director of Photography – Mick O’Rourke
RELEASE DATE: January 2004
GENRES: Documentary
SERIES FORMAT: 6 x 25 minute


AB France , AETN UK , Alliance Atlantis , Aps Usa , Arte , BBC Network , BBC Northern Ireland , Canada Tv , CANWEST , Ceska Czech Republic , Channel 4 , Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation , Discovery America , Discovery Europe , Discovery Iberia , Discovery Japan , Dr Tv Denmark

Religious doctrine has always directly influenced the evolution of art and architecture. The prohibition of representational art in the Koran led to the development of abstract, geometrical decoration in mosques; the spire of a medieval gothic cathedral is a representation in stone of human aspirations to reach a heaven that is, quite literally, in the sky above; the fact that Hinduism feels more at home with the sensual than most religions is obvious in its iconography.

Each programme deals with a different branch of faith — from Christianity, Islam and Judaism to Buddhism, Hinduism and the ancient and all-encompassing creed of Paganism. Through the great shrines of each religion  the civilisations that founded them are explored together with the art of their construction, the unity and division they have engendered and the devotion that sustains them today.

Spectacular location footage captures the beauty and scale of each sacred place, along with the experience of the pilgrims who travel there. Digital effects will show how the shrines would have appeared at the time of their foundation, revealing the mysteries of how they were built.

On one level the programmes exhibit the beautiful objects that have been created in the name of religion. On another level there is an insight into the universality of spiritual aspiration — the manifestations may be different but the motivations are the same. This is true across cultures and across millennia. In addition the programmes take us to some remote and exotic locations, seldom seen on television before.

A winning combination of ‘Art’, ‘History’ and ‘Travel’ in one spectacular series.


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