BBC1's The Passion is expected to make a huge national impact.
The Passion series which tells the story of the last week of Jesus' life, his trial and crucifixion starts on Palm Sunday 16 March and will be scheduled in peak time on BBC1. It is likely to attract audiences in excess of 10 million. The last episode, to be broadcast on Easter Sunday 23 March, dramatises Jesus' post-resurrection appearances.
Andrew Graystone, Director of the Churches' Media Council, was profoundly moved by early versions of the series. "This is an extremely vivid piece of drama. You feel you are right there, in amongst the Passover crowds, alongside the disciples as Jesus comes out with these simple but earth-shattering messages. And then of course, he's taken away and makes the ultimate sacrifice, and like the disciples, you're left to decide what you are going to do about it."
A multi-denominational group convened by the Churches' Media Council launched a website to provide resources and information about the series. The group is encouraging the Christian community to seize this "golden opportunity to contribute to a contemporary public discussion about Jesus." Christian leaders have been invited to a preview screening of the series. Meanwhile, a panel of speakers has been formed to contribute to national press, radio and TV discussions.
The Passion website has ideas to help local churches prepare for the series and can be found at: