Among the various Bible film related productions airing this Easter is this new BBC documentary David Suchet: In The Footsteps Of St Peter. The series is a follow up to Suchet’s 2012 documentary In the Footsteps of Saint Paul and follows a similar format travelling around in Galilee, Jerusalem and Rome, talking to experts and visiting key places in an attempt to get to know St. Peter better.
For much of the first decade of this century most religious TV documentaries were vaguely controversial, most notably those presented by Robert Beckford on Channel 4. But the BBC seems to have changed tack of late and sought to provide the background to some of the stories of the Bible in a way that will, I would have though, primarily appeal to believers, even though it aims to be neutral and impartial.
There are several new bits of information on the programme. The most important thing is the news that it will air over two mornings, with part one on Good Friday,3rd April at 9am, followed by part two on Easter Sunday Morning, 5th April at the same time. There are detailed descriptions of parts one and two on the BBC website.
Also there is a 5 minute video promo with some short excerpts from the film as well as the transcript where Suchet makes some interesting points, as well as an accompanying article.
One bit that did raise an eyebrow was the final paragraph where Suchet says:
My travels around Galilee talking with people and visiting places associated with Peter such as Capernaum suggest he might have been more of an entrepreneur, running his own fishing business. His financial security made it possible for him to leave a wife, family and dependents to follow Jesus for some three years.That’s a convenient interpretation – Peter falling back on his wealth from his hard work – rather than a more traditional, and dare I say radical, one which sees Peter as literally giving up everything he had to follow Jesus, and I have to say I’m unconvinced. After all Peter’s business seems to have permanently taken a back seat at least at some point and whilst one could argue that gradually the income from being a disciple increased at around the time his savings ran out, it seems a little convenient. Presumably though the documentary will flesh this out a little.
It’s also interesting to hear that there will be some discussion (and presumably footage) of the, so-called, Jesus boat. It may be almost 30 years since it was discovered but it’s a fascinating find and one I’d like to know more about.