The Weekend's TV: The Passion, BBC1
Gavin & Stacey, BBC3
Don't pass over this Easter treat
By Thomas Sutcliffe
Monday, 17 March 2008
. . . . The Moroccan location and the dusty hugger-mugger of some of the street scenes mean that it is fleetingly haunted by the spirit of The Life of Brian, but only the most zealously dogmatic Christian could complain that it was irreverent.If you missed the first two episodes and live in the UK, the Passion website has placed each one online so that you don't even have to go to the iPlayer:
Naturally, at least one dogmatic Christian has already volunteered his services. Stephen Green, the self-appointed pharisee who speaks for Christian Voice, has expressed disquiet at the fact that Deasy's account of Christ's last days should have been at pains to round out the motivations and character of two other notable players in the drama – Caiaphas, the High Priest, and Pilate, the Roman Governor. Mr Green wouldn't be satisfied, I suspect, unless both men appeared on screen accompanied by sulphurous gusts of smoke and a blast of the Carmina Burana. But for the rest of us, religiously minded or not, the prospect of a series diplomatically poised between revealed truth and historical speculation must be something of a relief. If you believe that Christ is your redeemer I can't so far see anything in The Passion that would have affronted that faith. And if you don't, its account of the politics of a week that was critical in world history proved surprisingly gripping.
The Passion: Episode Guide
Also on the BBC site, there are lots of comments from viewers, some of which make interesting reading to get a sketch of a range of reactions.
Digital Spy has viewing figures for the first episode, a slightly disappointing 4.1 million, a 15% share of the audience, apparently losing out to Dancing on Ice, almost 12 million (44% of the audience). As for the second episode, Doug Chaplin (Metacatholic) and Michael Bird (Euangelion) are bang up to date, with their episode 2 reviews going online within hours of last night's broadcast.
Also yesterday, Simon Mayo's TV Panel reviewed The Passion; you can listen again; fast forward to about 3.35pm for discussion of The Passion.
More comments and links later.