Forget J S Bach: the BBC has come up with an alternative Passion this Easter in which pop performers will dramatise the last hours of the life of Christ with the misery-laden lyrics of bands from Oasis to The Smiths.
The corporation is to stage an hour-long "contemporary retelling" of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus on Good Friday, with the streets of Manchester standing in for Jerusalem. It will be broadcast live on BBC 3.
But it will risk incurring the wrath of traditionalists, who already believe that the BBC has dumbed down its religious output, by mingling pop culture with words from the New Testament story.
The event will be accompanied by an orchestral score incorporating songs by a number of bands produced by the city over the past 30 years, some of whose members are better known for their excessive lifestyles than religious devotion.
Among the songs are Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now by The Smiths, and the hit Wonderwall by the band Oasis.
Much of the action is expected to take place near Manchester's gay and red light area close to Canal Street as the group "process" towards Albert Square in the city centre.
During the Last Supper, the character playing Jesus will sing Joy Division's Love Will Tear Us Apart.
Meanwhile, the Judas figure, knowing he is about to betray Jesus, sings the downbeat anthem by The Smiths, Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now.
In the Garden of Gesthemene, which will take place in a Manchester park, Jesus sings Sit Down by James as he prays alone, and then duets with Judas - Blue Monday by New Order - as he is arrested by performers dressed as police officers.
As the group converges on Albert Square in the centre of the city, a separate crowd of people carrying a 25ft-long, white cross will arrive from the other side of the city.
The trial of Jesus by Pontius Pilate will be accompanied by the singing of Wonderwall by Oasis, the chorus of which goes:
"I said maybe
You're gonna be the one who saves me?
And after all
You're my wonderwall."
The Virgin Mary will express her emotions at the foot of the cross in the song Search For the Hero by M People, which featured in a recent car advertisement.
At the climax of the programme, the resurrected Christ will appear on the roof of Manchester town hall and, if the draft script is followed, will belt out a reprise of Wonderwall.
Friday, January 27, 2006
The Manchester Passion...
From the Telegraph...