Wednesday, November 03, 2010

The Nativity: a new BBC drama for Christmas 2010

When I was watching the BBC Drama for Winter trailer below, in the hope of catching some Doctor Who, I was excited to see a very brief mention and still from a forthcoming new dramatization of The Nativity this Christmas. A little further exploration confirms that this is indeed a major new production, written by Tony Jordan, of Life on Mars, Eastenders and Echo Beach fame. The press release is here:

Stars align for Tony Jordan's Nativity on BBC One this Christmas
Andrew Buchan (Garrow's Law, Cranford), Peter Capaldi (In The Loop, The Thick of It) and rising star Tatiana Maslany (Cra$h & Burn, A Grown Up Movie Star) have been cast in a magical re-telling of the classic Nativity story.

Written by Tony Jordan (Life On Mars, Hustle, EastEnders) for BBC One this Christmas and produced by Red Planet Pictures in association with Kudos through BBC Wales.

Over four half-hour episodes the drama will tell the traditional tale known to millions from a very human perspective. With Mary and Joseph's enduring love story at the centre this familiar story is given a contemporary twist, as the drama follows Joseph and Mary from their initial courtship – Joseph desperate to win the heart of Mary – to his emotional turmoil at her unexpected pregnancy.

Tony Jordan said: "The challenge for me was to retell a story that has been told countless times before, a story that everyone knows intimately, yet to do so in a way that will still surprise and move you, to see parts of the story you'd never seen before. I really think that we've achieved that and I'm incredibly proud to have been asked by the BBC to be involved in such a wonderful project."
Although the press release does not mention The Passion, it looks to me like this project is inspired by its success, not least the idea of stripping a drama like this across several nights. The production team, however, appears to be different, and it does not look like the project has any tie-in with BBC Religion and Ethics. I will be on the look out for more over the next month or so, and will of course be commenting some more as the broadcast date draws near, and I look forward to reviewing. There are no pictures or clips yet, but there is the brief still in this preview, about two-thirds of the way through.

The still from The Nativity is at 1:57. But while one is watching, isn't it nice to see the ninth, tenth and eleventh doctors (Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant and Matt Smith) all appearing in the same trail?!

Update (Friday, 9.55am): Matt Page has an excellent round-up of what we know so far over on the Bible Films Blog (and I've pinched his screenshot for here too -- thanks).


Rich Griese said...

Looks like people can't get enough of this myth. Even though even religion department graduates know that it is mythical, i guess it is something they don't want to talk about too much, since the public seems to love it, and you don't want to anger the public. Apparently this myth sells.

Cheers! RichGries.NET

Matt Page said...

Thanks for that Mark. I can't believe this has gone under the radar for so long (or perhaps just that neither of us has heard of it). 4 and a half hours eh? That's a long time for such a short story. I take it your not involved?

Oh and did you also notice Joseph Mawle in the video you linked to. Nice to see him doing well after his work on The Passion.

And Capaldi as a wise man? Odd.


Matt Page said...

Ooops. 4 half hour episodes. That makes more sense.


Mark Goodacre said...

Yes, remarkable that we hadn't heard of it. I only caught it on the back of watching that trailer, just that one still. If we big it up in our blogs, perhaps we'll get that all important invitation to the premiere?

Michael said...

You might be interested in a piece I've written on this

Mark Goodacre said...

Thanks, Michael. Enjoyed reading.