Minister’s wife to star in BBC reality series

Ruth Rankin, with David and baby Sophia, breaks the mould as a minister's wife. Picture: Greg Macvean
Ruth Rankin, with David and baby Sophia, breaks the mould as a minister's wife. Picture: Greg Macvean
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An Edinburgh minister’s wife is to feature on a new BBC reality series.

A regular Fringe performer, Ruth Rankin, 26, from Leith, is the new star of a six-part TV documentary looking at the secret lives of ministers’ wives.

She and her husband, Rev David Rankin, 36, of Kaimes Lockhart Memorial Church of Scotland, feature in The Minister’s Wife, a new series on BBC Alba which follows the lives of three very different ministers’ wives.

In her day job Ruth works as a community arts officer, who this year co-wrote, produced and starred in her own Fringe show titled Marydoll Poppins.

At home she supports her husband in his attempts to arrest the decline in the congregation at his Gracemount parish, which is currently without a church building.

She said: “I’m not a traditional minister’s wife at all. I’m not one for flower arranging and baking scones in any way.

“There’s a long-held view of a Scottish minister’s wife but I don’t fit that. I don’t see why I have to be identified that way either, it’s not like I expect David to introduce himself as the husband of a community arts officer.”

Ruth decided to put her name forward for the show after she read a post on a Facebook group for ministers’ wives.

She added: “I sent an e-mail and told them that I’m not a traditional minister’s wife but if they were looking for something a bit different then get in touch.

“This was exactly what they were looking for.”

David’s church building in Gracemount Drive had to be demolished in 2009 after tests on broken floor tiles revealed the presence of asbestos.

Ruth said: “As a result of not having a dedicated church building we have to get out into the community and use different facilities and locations. Our Sunday service is held within the nearby Libertus day care centre and we use the leisure centre for baby and toddler groups.

“This was another factor that the TV producers quite liked.”

She added: “I wouldn’t advise folk to tune in if it’s action they’re looking for, though. When they were filming one of the ladies dropped a cup and the camera guys came running around the corner in the hope that it was something big.”

The crew’s disappointment still makes Ruth chuckle.

The couple, married for three years, met at nearby Gracemount High School, where Ruth served as chaplain.

“We attended a few meetings and I always thought he was a youth worker,” she said.

“He doesn’t fit the stereotype of what a minister should look like either – he doesn’t even own a dog collar.

“I’m extremely proud to be his wife and support him in his work – since he took over the parish he’s doubled the congregation.”

Ruth added: “I hope if people take anything from the show it is that we’re not all Bible bashers. You can have God in your life and still live what everyone considers a normal life.”

The documentary, which was filmed over the course of four months, airs on Friday.