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The Monastery is a reality television series originally made in the United Kingdom in 2005. The format involves a number of individuals, who are not necessarily religious, spending a period of time in a place of religious retreat.[1] It has since been copied for UK sequels and in the United States and Australia.


United Kingdom

The UK series The Monastery was filmed at Worth Abbey and first transmitted in 2005-6.[2] Produced by Tiger Aspect for the BBC, it won the Merit Award for Religious Programming in the prestigious Sandford St. Martin Trust Awards in 2006.

The series was re-broadcast by other television networks. The BBC commissioned follow-up series entitled The Monastery Revisited; The Convent, in which four women spent 40 days in a Convent of the Poor Clares;[3][4] and The Retreat in 2007 in which a group of men and women lived together in a Muslim school of prayer.[2][5]

United States

The US version, also called The Monastery, was made by the Discovery Channel and broadcast on TLC. It debuted on October 22, 2006 and aired on Sundays at 10:00 pm. In the first season, five men of various backgrounds who were facing personal crises volunteered to live at a Benedictine monastery, the Monastery of Christ in the Desert in northern New Mexico, for 40 days.[6]


ABC in Australia made a similar series, The Abbey, in which five women spent 33 days living the life of an enclosed Benedictine nun.[7]


  1. ^ What is The Monastery?
  2. ^ a b The Monastery: a new kind of television at Worth Abbey website
  3. ^ Convent opens its doors to BBC2, BBC, 1 June 2006
  4. ^ "The Convent", mini-site about the series at The Poor Clares Arundel website
  5. ^ Finding Sanctuary, Orion Publishing
  6. ^ TLC Ventures into Unexplored Territory with The Monastery,, October 20, 2006. Retrieved May 9, 2009.
  7. ^ The Abbey, ABC website


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