Sunday, March 16, 2008
JESUS JONES! The Passion, BBC One, 8.00pm
RUTH JONES! Gavin and Stacey, BBC Three, 9.00pm
We wonder if God* is somehow looking down on lowculture at the moment. With I'd Do Anything last night and the imminent return of The Apprentice, Desperate Housewives, My Name Is Earl, Pulling, Eurovision and Doctor Who, and Gavin and Stacey also returning tonight, we seem to be blessed with telly abundance. So we thought we'd return the favour and also plug Jesus' programme, The Passion.
Yet another dramatisation of the last few days of the life of Jesus may not sound like perfect LC-fare, we grant you. Especially as it has all that betrayal and blood and religion and crucifixion and whatnot in it. But it still might interest you for the following reasons: 1. It is stripped across several nights, Bleak House stylee to be played out more of a soapy-drama. 2. It is on early enough to not be the gore-fest that The Passion of the Christ was. 3. It stars Prime Minister Harriet Jones (aka Penelope Wilton) as Jesus' mum, with James Nesbitt as Pilate and Tom Ellis, Dean Lennox Kelly and Paul Nicholls among the disciples. And OK, you probably know the story and the ending, but it will be interesting to see if, and how, the Beeb can make it feel new and captivating. Of course, one member of team LC had to bring the whole thing down to a wholly unbiblical level by suggesting some of the casting might mean it is also suitable for certain unwholesome pursuits (must...resist...Palm Sunday...jokes). We suggest a few Hail Marys (Maries?) and a couple of rounds of The Lord's Prayer for that young man instead.
Now onto matters of an altogether more serious nature. We loved Gavin and Stacey well before all those bandwagon-jumping awards people. And thus we are rather chuffed to see it back. And yes it IS heartwarming, but yes it is also funny with it. So that makes it just right in our book. Since the last series, Matthew Horne, James Corden and Ruth Jones have become sort-of household names (even if everyone describes them as 'that fat one and that thin one who do Big Brother's Big Mouth and all that other stuff' and 'her who played Myfanway, you know'). Joanna Page has stayed somewhat in the sidelines, which is kind of nice, as she hasn't sullied our image of her as the sweet serial engagee, (think Darren Day but nice, And a girl. And not sleazy.) Stacey.
Last time we saw our Welsh/Essex friends, Gavin and Stacey had just married, Nessa had discovered she was pregnant with (we presume) Smithy's baby and Stacey's brother had a grudge against Uncle Bryn for something we have yet to discover. So even though the central couple got together, engaged and married during series one, there is plenty of other stuff to set up new storylines with. All the usual supporting cast are present and correct for this series: Alison Steadman, Rob Brydon, Julia Davis, Larry Lamb, who has just been cast as Archie Mitchell, dad of Samantha Janus and the other one in EastEnders, and Melanie Walters, last seen playing Elliot's slightly deranged mum with the obsession for keeping the Welsh race pure in Hollyoaks. We can't quite work out if bringing elements of their soapy alter egos' lives into this show would be a work of genius or not.
What we do know is that this double bill will be the greatest thing on BBC Three since, ooh, Raiders of the Lost Ark which precedes it.
*Or the gods, or a higher being, or the force, or fate, or, in the style of Richard Dawkins, 'nothing, you ignorant fools. And stop being happy about wasting your lives watching meaningless telly drivel while you're at it. Oh, and Nick? You'll go blind.'
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