Rylan opens up on surprising relationship with religion

"I was an altar server in a Roman Catholic church."

London, UK. 18th Oct, 2023. Rylan Clark, TV presenter. The Pink News Awards celebrates world-leading progressive thinking and queer culture across entertainment, politics, sport, and business.The Pink News Awards celebrates world-leading progressive thinking and queer culture across entertainment, politics, sport, and business. Credit: Imageplotter/Alamy Live News
Rylan Clark has spoken openly about his faith. (Imageplotter/Alamy Live News)

Rylan Clark openly discussed his faith in the third and final episode of Rob and Rylan's Grand Tour.

Airing on BBC Two on Sunday (26 May), he and travel partner Rob Rinder stopped off in the marvelous city of Rome, where tour guide Tatiana took them to "the very first Baroque church".

Whilst soaking up the internal architecture of the Chiesa del Gesù, former Celebrity Big Brother winner Rylan recounted his early religious days.

Rob and Rylan's Grand Tour,12-05-2024,3 - Rome,Rylan, Rob Rinder,in front of the Colosseum.

**EP3 ICONIC**,Zinc Media,Lana Salah
He and Rob Rinder visited Rome for their final Grand Tour stop. (Zinc Media/Lana Salah)

"You really have to put yourself in the mindset of the people of the time, they didn't have any other kind of visual material - no TV, no photographs, so this was the only way to kind of bring to life these saintly figures," explained Tatiana of 17th century artist Giovanni Battista Gaulli's trippy piece adorning the church's ceiling, 'The Triumph of the Name of Jesus'.

Via some follow-up narration, Rylan told viewers: "It was essentially the most expensive ad campaign in history, and I'm sold! But they are preaching to the converted..."

Lighting a candle, the TV presenter then revealed to the cameras that he was an "altar server" for a local Roman Catholic church in his youth. "It just smells like my childhood," he said. "I felt smothered in a good way, like a cuddle. You don't really think of anything, you just take it all in."

Further along, Rylan suggested people "would be surprised that I've got a faith", although he was quick to mention that he doesn't attend church services every Sunday, nor does he pray each night before eating.

"But growing up, yeah, I went to a Catholic school," he continued. "I don't know, it just sort of sticks with you, so for me like a church or somewhere like that, it is a special place."

Shot of a fresco - the triumph of the Name of Jesus in the Church of the Gesu in Rome, Italy
The Triumph of the Name of Jesus. (Getty Images)

Following the pair's Roman trip, fans on social media struggled to accept that Rob and Rylan's docuseries was over.

"Beautiful places, culture & art, so much information & beauty to take in but what shone through most of all was their beautiful friendship. More Grand tours please!" wrote one X user.

"Have loved, loved, loved #robandrylan #grandtour Thank you so much boys!" and "I have loved every minute of #RobandRylan - going to price up #TheGrandTour just beautiful, the programme, Italy and you guys," read a couple more appreciative messages.

All episodes of Rob and Rylan's Grand Tour are now streaming on BBC iPlayer.