• Bible Films Blog

    Looking at film interpretations of the stories in the Bible - past, present and future, as well as preparation for a future work on Straub/Huillet's Moses und Aron and a few bits and pieces on biblical studies.

    Matt Page


    Wednesday, April 17, 2019

    Easter UK TV Schedule 2019

    In years gone by I used to post the schedules of any films/productions/programmes that might be of interest to readers of this blog. I must admit I thought I'd done it far more recently than 2011, when the last of my holiday previews posts was. Certainly I've been checking more regularly than that, but admittedly there's not been a huge amount.

    For whatever reason, this year I'm resurrecting the tradition. It turns out there are a few things of interest this year and I somehow found myself in a position both to check out what was coming up as well as having a moment to blog it all. So here goes


    The Robe - BBC2 - Good Friday - 2:35pm
    The first film in the Cinemascope widescreen format in many ways typifies the Biblical epic. There's some magnificent scenes, some moments that are genuinely moving and some unbelievably hammy acting. Newman's score is terrific. Martin Scorsese fondly remembers the impact of the curtain pulling back and back and back. My review is here.

    Androcles and the Lion - Talking Pictures TV - Easter Sunday - 10:30am
    Talking Pictures TV is available on Freeview and deals with classic era films and TV. This is a little tangential for this blog, but we'll let it squeeze in, if only because prior to Life of Brian it was the leading satire of Biblical epics. Plus if you've not hand enough of Jean Simmons and Victor Mature after The Robe here's a chance for another helping.

    Risen - C4 - Easter Sunday - 11pm
    Released only three years ago, Risen will always have a special place in my heart as being the film that brought me to Rome for the first time. Like The Robe it has some good aspects, such as the tension in parts of the first half, but the interest fizzles out part-way through. Worth a watch if you've not yet seen it. My review is here and you can also read a piece I wrote for Peter Chattaway's blog on the filmmakers views of the film.

    Jesus: His Life
    Jesus: His Life is an eight part mix of drama and documentary that has just finished airing in the US (you can read Mark Goodacre's tweet stream here). The series begins here on Easter Sunday and I it seems that it will run an episode a week thereafter. Each chapter tells the story from the point of view of a different character, the docu-drama equivalent of Jesus Christ, Superstar, perhaps. Here's my review.


    Britain's Easter Story - BBC1 - Good Friday 9am & Easter Sunday 9:10pm
    I know very little about this so I'll just quote from the BBC press release. The programme will star "choir master Gareth Malone and gospel choir conductor Karen Gibson. They travel across the UK to explore the stories behind our Easter traditions, looking at how different celebrations have developed over the years, and how music remains a big part of those celebrations."

    Pilgrimage: The Road to Rome - BBC2 - Good Friday - 9pm
    (Final episode, repeats of parts 1 & 2 on BBC2 at Wed 17th at 12:15am and Wed 24th 2:05am on BBC2 respectively, or on iPlayer)
    I really enjoyed last year's Pilgrimage: The Road to Santiago so I was pleased to see them reworking the formula and going for the big one this year. I'm a little slow to the party so I've not yet had a chance to catch the first two episodes. Whether Les Dennis, Stephen K Amos and Katy Brand can provide the humour that Ed Byrne and Neil Morrissey did last year remains to be seen. It will be interesting to see how the dynamic will change without a TV vicar this year.

    Jesus' Female Disciples - C4 - Easter Monday 2:45am
    Last year's Channel 4 documentary, released to coincide with the UK release of Mary Magdalene, gets another outing here. It stars Prof. Joan Taylor (who advise on Magdalene) and Helen Bond (who literally wrote the book on Jesus TV documentaries. My review is here.



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