Churches welcome BBC Passion series

A major drama series on the last days of Jesus is to be broadcast across Holy Week 2008 on BBC 1. The Passion is told from the point of view of Caiaphas, Pilate and the disciples.

Andrew Graystone, Director of the Churches’ Media Council, encouraged the Christian community to welcome the BBC’s Passion unreservedly.  He has discussed the project extensively with the producer Nigel Stafford-Clark (Bleak House), and has seen extracts from the series. 

“This is a straightforward account of the last few days of the life of Jesus, told with honesty and passion.  Obviously it is a work of drama not theology. It wasn’t conceived as an exercise in evangelism.  But it springs directly from the story of the Gospels.

“It promises to be the most honest and challenging account of Jesus seen on TV in many years.  It will prompt believers and unbelievers alike to think about Jesus.  We want to encourage and contribute to those discussions.”

The Churches’ Media Council has formed a group drawn from all the main Christian denominations and mission agencies to prepare for the series, which is likely to be seen by up to eight million viewers.  The group will provide briefing notes and suggestions for churches on how to use the series.  They will also co-ordinate a panel of speakers who will be prepared to discuss the series in the national media. 

“This Easter the whole country will be talking about Jesus.  Let’s take a break from discussing the state of the Church or the finer points of theology!” said Andrew Graystone. “Instead let’s take our cue from this series and focus our discussions on the person of Jesus.”

The Passion, written by Emmy Award-winner Frank Deasy (Prime Suspect 7), stars Joseph Mawle (Soundproof), James Nesbitt (Murphy's Law), Paul Nicholls (Clapham Junction), along with Ben Daniels, Laura Fraser, Denis Lawson and David Oyelowo.

The series, which was filmed in Morocco, will be shown across Easter week on BBC 1, with the final episode on Easter Sunday.

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