Sunday, December 16, 2007
O come, all ye faithful
CONTROVERSIAL! Make Me a Muslim, Channel 4, 8pm
SONG-TROVERSIAL! The Liverpool Nativity, BBC3, 8pm
Before we begin today's previews, let's take a moment to reflect on THAT result. Yes, we know.
OK, moment over, let's move on, people.
So... it is at this time of year that our thoughts turn to the spiritual side of life (unless like us, you're doing a research project on religion on telly, in which case you think about it all the time), and we don't just mean of the alcoholic variety, ba-dum-tish.
In a slightly bizarre feat of scheduling, we see two shows with a loosely spiritual/religious dimension on at the same time tonight. So, which should get the lowculture vote?
Well, should this influence your choice at all, Channel 4's offering, Make Me a Muslim runs across three consecutive nights, not weeks, as you might expect. This already controversial 'reality' show follows six volunteers as they adopt an Islamic lifestyle for three weeks and try and live according to the values of Sharia Law. All well and good, but didn't BBC2's The Retreat do something very similar early on in the year?
Anyway, early reports (well Newsnight Review anyway) suggest the show is engineered for conflict, with participants including extreme stereotyped characters (e.g. the truck driver who 'just happens' to have a huge stash of porn, the gay man who 'just happens' to dress in women's togs from time to time), so we don't expect too much. But it should still hopefully be interesting.
BBC3's one-off offering, The Liverpool Nativity is one of those things that will either be a triumph-against-all-odds, or an unmitigated disaster. Following on from 2006's actually very moving Manchester Passion in which the story of Easter was set against a backdrop of Manchester-based songs, and featured local actors and pop stars in the main roles, this show does the same for the Christmas story, but sets it in Liverpool. See what they did there?
Promising to feature the songs of The Beatles, Echo and The Bunnymen, The La's, The Kalxons and, er, Cast, this also boasts a very LC-friendly cast, including Jennifer Ellison, Nerys Hughes and Geoffrey Hughes (Onslow from Keeping up Appearances. Yes, we know he was in Corrie and The Royle Family as well).
We hope this will be as entertaining and emotive as its Manchester counterpart (although to be honest, we don't hold out too much hope), but we'd still rather they stopped the series here and didn't attempt the Sheffield Pentecost, much as we'd like a starring role as an extra, and to see how Disco 2000, Don't You Want Me and I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor could be turned into loosely Biblical messages.
Peace and goodwill to all of you, lovely people. And remember, the true meaning of Christmas is to download Mariah's All I Want for Christmas Is You and cause an upset in the Christmas Number One stakes...