BROADCAST NEWS by Joanna Moorhead BEFORE package holidays came pilgrimages. as viewers to the currentlyrunning Brother Felix and the Virgin Saint (Fridays, Channel 4) are finding out. The series tells the tale of the I5th-century German Dominican, Br Felix Fabri, who travelled 3.000 miles across Europe and the Holy Land to worship at the shrine to St Catherine of Alexandria at the foot of Mount Sinai.
The book he subsequently penned dubbed "the first-ever travel guide" by the programme shows that tourism and sightseeing hasn't changed all that much over the centuries. Like today's travel writers, Br Felix was careful to record the quality of accommodation on his route "the monastery is very grand... 0 do not think I have anywhere heard such correct choir singing," he recorded of one stopover. Visiting treasures was Felix•s passion, especially if the treasures in question were the remains of some longdead holy person, and he marked down his sightings with all the verve of a trainspotter: in Venice he saw the "head. left arm and hand of St George... head of St James the Less... entire body of St Paul, body of the father of St John the Baptist. with his mouth open..." A superbly-filmed series. which evokes both past and present in the countries along Br Felix's long route. Sunday: 9.15am, BBC1: The first of People on rhe Way, a six-week Lenten journey through Wales. Scotland and Ireland; 12 noon, ITV: Paul Heiney hosts This Sunday, a new series of magazine programmes which look at topical and entertaining stories with a religious flavour. 10.10pm, BBC1: Everyman: Too Many People compares the lives of the McMillans of London and the Begums of Bangladesh, whose child they sponsor.
Friday: 5pm, Channel 4: Last week it was the unemployment figures which drew programme-makers to Jarrow and the north east: this week it is Cardinal Hume, and his quest to unravel the stories of the early saints who made the area the largest civilisation west of Rome. In the week of his 70th birthday, the Cardinal reveals his admiration for the saints of the area of England in which he grew up, taking viewers on a tour of Lindisfarne, Whitby. Durham and beyond.