This years seems to be a particularly good year for biblical epics and people who respect Rowan Williams (pictured). The only downside is that there's not much rare or original programming, but given that both the BBC and Channel 4 have offered us major series on Christianity already this year, and that only last week the BBC screened a rare Bible film, this is perhaps fair enough.
The Day Jesus Died
BBC1, Good Friday, 9am
"What is the meaning of Good Friday? Why do Christians honour the death of Jesus as a victory, whereas Jews and Muslims regard Jesus' crucifixion as a defeat and a humiliation? Historian Bettany Hughes embarks on a journey to uncover the meaning of Jesus' death on the cross, and finds out just why it still has significance today."(BBC Website)
Channel 4, Good Friday, 1pm
Interweaving the fictional story of Marcellus' spiritual death and resurrection with that of the physical death of Jesus, The Robe is arguably one of the more apt Jesus Cameo films to broadcast on Good Friday. Richard Burton and Victor Mature are both a little hammy in places, but the Good Friday scenes are moving and impressive, and it's another chance to celebrate the life of Jean Simmons who died earlier this year.
King of Kings
Channel 5, Easter Sunday, 2pm
I know there are plenty of holes to pick with this film, but somehow I still find that I love it and long to watch it again. King of Kings turns 50 next year and whilst parts of it show its age, other parts still hold up remarkably well. It's been a while since this was last shown on our TV screens so it's nice to see it make a comeback. Suffice to say if I was to get a chance to choose a Jesus film to watch on the big screen, this would be one of the two I'd go for.
Something About Mary Magdalene
ITV1, Easter Monday, 12:10am
"Mary Magdalene remains one of the most enigmatic women in history. For almost two thousand years she has been the subject of myths and legends and has inspired both popular literature and some compelling religious art. Christianity's most prominent sinner turned saint? A repentant prostitute who followed Jesus and was the key witness to his resurrection? Leading world experts paint a new, radical portrait of Mary that challenges the Church's traditional account." (ITV website)
Greatest Story Ever Told
Channel 4, Easter Monday, 11:45am
As with last Easter, so Channel 4 are showing The Greatest Story Ever Told although not in the the very fitting timeslot it had last year. Still, if you have a spare three hours, and you can get past the distracting cameos, and the odd ridiculous moment (that's you Heston) there's much to enjoy.
And on top of this you can also catch the entire series of Diarmaid MacCulloch's excellent A History of Christianity on BBC4, and Jesus Christ, Superstar on ITV3. Dr Williams has heartily endorsed MacCulloch's work; Goodacre Jewison's.
Labels: Holiday Previews