PETER STANFORD writes of a Road to Damascus experience for EastEnders scriptwriter Tony Jordan in today’s Telegraph. BBC Wales were planning a follow up to The Passion broadcast in 2008. “I’d probably had a couple too many rums, but they asked me what I would do,” recalls Jordan. And one thing led to another. However …

Writing The Nativity may have converted him to the virgin birth, even to Jesus’s blueprint, but it won’t inspire Jordan to take his seat in the ancient church a few doors down from his house on Dec 25.

“I have a distaste for people who say to me if you come through these doors, walk down this aisle, sit on that wooden bench, and sing these hymns in this order, I have got God in a little bottle under my pulpit and I’ll let you have a look,” he says. “I don’t think that was God’s intention.”

The Nativity runs on BBC One for four consecutive nights from Monday Dec 20

I share Jordan’s distaste, even whilst I hate to admit that the kind of people he describes actually exist. They do, of course. WE do, of course.  And we all hate to admit it. So I’m glad of the jolt from Tony Jordan. Glad of a chance to ask myself the question: “is that how the Church really comes across to some people?”. Let me not be too quick to jump to the defensive. And let me thank God for a really big “offering” from the BBC. “It’s about Joseph finding faith”, Jordan says. And I’d add that it’s about faith being a gift made available “to you and all mankind” – God-in-Baby. Not God in bottle. Anybody’s bottle.

PRIVATE FEEDBACK: What did you think of The Nativity?


14 thoughts on “BBC – THE NATIVITY i

  1. Watched the first episode last night and was drawn in despite myself. It was the theme of the love story between Mary and Joseph which caught my imagination. I know what Tony Jordan means about “God in a bottle” or God on demand. It’s so hard for churches to be welcoming to everyone who happens to walk in, but it is what must happen. Every Blessing this Christmas

  2. Would you kindly let me know if this series is/will be repeated?

  3. Thank you for your note.

    Two further episodes are coming up this Wednesday 22nd and Thursday 23rd evenings, both at 7pm on BBC One.

    Please follow this link for more information directly from the BBC.

    All best wishes to you.

  4. Thanks Freda. Like Lucy, above, we’ll be watching recordings after the Christmas rush. Thanks for visiting, and thanks for your own blog.

  5. Luck the Nativity is on the BBCs iPlayer.. worht watching. It is a very moving protrayal of the Messiahs birth. Let those who have a distate of reality live that way. Pat on the back to all those involved inthe production of those episodes… excellent. BTW I am not a christian.

  6. Thanks Chris. Yes, a real reality check! The BBC can be proud of this and I hope they’ll make it available on DVD. Have a good Christmas.

  7. I am amazed at the reported ‘fury’ at this rendering of the Nativity story! I am a follower of Jesus Christ and believe that the bible is the word of God but cannot find anything in the BBC’s offering that should provoke outrage except the generally perhaps that Jesus is actually portrayed as being the actual Son of God and Mary an actual virgin. The Bible makes it clear that Joseph did not believe Mary’s account of her impregnation and was set to “put her away quietly”until divine intervention in the form of a dream convinced him otherwise and so it is inescapably implied that he considered her to be at least an adultress and a liar.
    One could certainly find fault with deviations from the original text such as the Magi’s new decision to refrain from a visit to Herod – which only detracts from the pace and tension of the plot – but overall the integrity of the telling is excellent and compelling! Joseph would have to have been some inert emotionless freak were he to have responded to Mary’s presumed betrayal with quiet reserve. Of all man’s shortcomings it is his adultery and faithlessness that provoke God’s white hot anger. happily such anger last’s but a moment when thrown alongside the favour and blessing found in his ‘hesed’ fuelled desire to forgive. I was really moved and inspired by this telling, moreso than any other dramatic reconstruction!

  8. Well done the BBC for this production. The concluding episode last night showing the planetary movements to produce the “bright star” at the time of the birth was truly nerve jangling.

  9. I have just managed to watch the final 3 episodes of BBC’s “The Nativity” and both myself and my husband found this to be one of the best things we have ever seen. Extremely moving and exactly what needs to be shown at the time of this religious holiday. We are both shocked at all the controversy surrounding this wonderful portayal and although I am a new Christian this has underlined my reasons for my faith and beliefs. Thank you to everyone invloved in the making and promotion of this excellent programme.

  10. Well done to the BBC on many levels! It was good to see Christmas getting some ‘prime time’ on BBC1 – I mind a lot less about the BBC license fee when I see it facing up to its public service responsibilities like this. I must admit, however, that I was not expecting to see the epic drama that I did. From Tony Jordan’s fabulous screenplay (faithful and reverent, yet made real and relevent to today), to the direction and cinematography and, of course, great acting. The overall production quality was up there with many Holywood blockbusters (if not better)!

    When can we purchase on DVD and Blu Ray??

  11. I lost the recording from my Sky+ box and would be grateful if you could let me know whether this brilliant new adaptation is available on DVD.

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