BBC to modernise Easter pageant and crucifixion with pop opera
LONDON - The BBC is commemorating the crucifixion of Christ this Easter by broadcasting a live pop-opera procession through the streets of Manchester, featuring stars from The Stone Roses and Happy Mondays.
The procession, called 'Manchester Passion', will broadcast live on BBC Three and will see stars such as Ian Brown, former lead singer of the Stone Roses, and Happy Monday's dancer Bez, play characters from the biblical account of Christ's passion and crucifixion.
Bez, who won last year's 'Celebrity Big Brother' and is a self-confessed drug taker, is tipped to play a disciple.
The contemporary version of the tale, to be broadcast on Good Friday, will see a yet-to-be-confirmed singer playing Jesus, singing the Joy Division hit 'Love Will Tear Us Apart' as well as The Smiths' track 'Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now', which includes the lyrics "Oh, why do I give valuable time to people who don't care if live or die?".
Later, Jesus duets with Pontius Pilate singing the Oasis hit 'Wonderwall' with the fitting line sung by Jesus: "Maybe you're gonna be the one that saves me."
Members of the public will be encouraged to join the procession, which culminates in Albert Square. Black Grape's saxophonist Martin Slattery is also due to join the procession.
The BBC are reportedly kicking off the production in the city's gay and red-light district with the Robbie Williams classic 'Angels'.
The corporation has even enlisted the help of the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church in the area to retell the tale.
Church of England spokesman Gillian Oliver said: "We are working with the BBC on this and are very pleased to be taking the good news of the gospel onto the streets of Manchester. If anything, something like this can translate the old story into new terms."
Not everyone would agree, if the controversy caused by BBC Two's screening of 'Jerry Springer: The Opera' in 2004 is anything to go by. Media regulator Ofcom received more than 16,000 complaints when it broadcast the one-off programme, which saw Jesus in a nappy and made references to him being gay.
BBC Three will no doubt bracing itself for a number of complaints from Christian viewers about its account of Christ's passion and crucifixion.
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