Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Christianity and Celebrity Big Brother for Channel 4; Challenge: Cherie Blair Tackles Religious Issues

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Christianity and Celebrity Big Brother for Channel 4; Challenge: Cherie Blair Tackles Religious Issues

Article excerpt

Byline: AMAR SINGH

A SERIES exploring alternative views on Christianity will spearhead Channel 4's winter season of programmes, it was announced today.

In what the cash-strapped broadcaster described as the most ambitious religious programming commission in its history, the series will feature eight hour-long documentaries.

The channel also confirmed the return of Celebrity Big Brother in January after it was "rested" last year following the race row involving Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty.

The documentaries will be presented by personalities including Michael Portillo, Ann Widdecombe, Rageh Omaar and Cherie Blair.

In the first programme author Howard Jacobson examines the nature of Jesus's Jewishness and Christianity's fraught relationship with its Jewish origins.

In other films in the series, Mr Portillo investigates Christianity during the time of the Roman Empire, theologian Dr Robert Beckford looks at the impact Christianity has had on Britain while Omaar fronts a documentary on Christianity's relations with Islam and the bloody legacy of the crusades.

Miss Widdecombe, who converted from Anglicanism to Catholicism, looks at the Reformation, while playwright Kwame Kwei-Armah explores how Christianity was exported "at the barrel of a gun" and leading scientist Professor Colin Blakemore examines how the scientific revolution undermined the centuries-long

Biblical view of the world. …

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