Palm Sunday - Sunday 17th April
Does Christianity Have a Future?, BBC1 22:25
Rowan Williams is all over the telly this Easter, although this is really about frumpy politician turned popular reality TV "dancer", Anne Widdecombe. Having reinvented herself, Widdecombe ponders the question of whether the church can reinvent itself to ensure its survival. There's a look at the Alpha Course, Catholic immigrants and the resurgent black pentecostal churches, as well as a look at the longer term future.
Good Friday - Friday 22nd April
What's the Point of Forgiveness, BBC1 09:00
Williams again, this time teaming up again with Bettany Hughes, who made the excellent The Day Jesus Died this time last year. The programme is looking at forgiveness in a variety of contexts from Jesus' words on the cross, to the widow of one of those killed on 9-11.
The Story of Jesus: Part 1, BBC1 10:00
This is the first of a two part documentary looking at the life of Jesus. Part 1 covers Jesus' birth, ministry and the miracles whereas the second episode, on Easter Day, will cover the passion and resurrection. As with The Miracles of Jesus the programme will be using time lapse photography. It's to be hoped that this is slightly more restrained here than in the original series. It's directed by Big Book Media's David Batty and given that Jesus is also played by the Jesus from that project, Selva Raslingam, it all sounds quite promising.
The Prince of Egypt, BBC1 13:30
Before Pixar raised the bar in animation, Dreamworks looked poised to become a major force in animation. The Prince of Egypt was a decent first outing. Whilst not ideal from a biblical point of view, it was generally well made and did well at the box office. The massive, and unforeseen, success of Shrek and the disappointment of Joseph, King of Dream moved Dreamworks in another direction, but 13 years on The Prince of Egypt still looks pretty fresh, and the hieroglyphic sequence remains arguably the most impressive moment from any of the filmed versions of Moses' life.
Barabbas, C5 14:20
Barabbas' eerie crucifixion scene, famously shot during an actual eclipse, is a great choice for Good Friday a film about the way the events that day change lives. It's a far more complex exploration than the other Jesus cameo films from the era and well worth a watch.
Easter Sunday - 24th April
The Story of Jesus: Part 2, BBC1 11:35
Part 2 of the series wheels out the bigger hitters, with Ben Witherington, Helen Bond and Tom Wright amongst the nine experts featured. Whilst this episode starts with more of Jesus' ministry, I suspect it will be Jesus' death and resurrection that are the major foci of this episode.
Flight of Faith: The Jesus Story ITV1, 23:15
Laurence Vulliamy steps out from behind the camera on Time Team to narrate this journey through the life of Christ. It's major boast seems to be its use of aerial photography, though I'm not quite sure how much can be done with that. Nevertheless, it's American release was well received by various Christian outlets. There's an interview with Vulliamy available on YouTube.
Lastly, Chariots of Fire will be showing on Film4 at 6:40pm on Easter Sunday as well.
Incidentally you can see other festive seasons' religious programming all together or individually - Easter '10, '09, '08 and '07; Christmas '10 '09 '08, '07 and '06).
Labels: Holiday Previews