BBC’s desperate attempt to portray faith-heads as ‘nice’

BBC’s desperate attempt to portray faith-heads as ‘nice’

Because only loud-mouthed and murderous religious fanatics tend to attract media attention, BBC 2 has decided to launch a new TV series tonight which focuses on the lives of lives of ‘nice, normal, gentle’ Christians, Muslims and Jews.

The presenter of the deceptively-titled My Mediterranean with Adrian Chiles is a Catholic convert nicknamed “Holy Joe” Chiles.

In this Independent report the former football presenter revealed that the BBC took fright over the original working title, Holy Med, which it thought would prove a major turn-off for Brits who have a particular dislike for religious programmes, especially on radio.

In each programme of the series, Chiles opens with the words:

I believe in God.

Chiles said he reluctantly accepted the show’s innocuous new title.

I wouldn’t say I agree with it, I understand it. It was a collective decision that I stand by. I would have erred the other way, probably with calamitous consequences.

At the start of the series, Chiles states:

On my journey around the Mediterranean I want to show that religion actually does more good than harm. I won’t be seeking out the religious zealots – they get quite enough airtime if you ask me. I just want to find the majority; the nice, normal, gentle people who happen to be religious.

In other words, they are the passive ones who enable the fanatics. “Guy”, commenting on the report in the Independent, wrote:

The violent zealots of all religions; judaism, xtianity, islam, sikhism, hinduism, buddhism derive their power, money, reputation, powers of persuasion, communication, from their masses of ‘moderate’ supporters who passively accept submit to the rule of their leaders.

Chiles said friends in television production warned him off making religious shows.

It was always, ‘You will not get anything on about religion, you’re wasting your time.’

But BBC2 controller Kim Shillinglaw commissioned the programme after Chiles told her how he and a Muslim taxi driver had a late-night discussion, bid each other farewell with a “God bless you”, and, he concluded, “there wasn’t a piece of paper between us”.

Chiles said he has:

More in common with a liberal Jew and a liberal Muslim than I have with even a conservative Roman Catholic … It’s [religious] fervour that frightens me more than anything else. Just be calm and still.

Hat tip: BarrieJohn

19 responses to “BBC’s desperate attempt to portray faith-heads as ‘nice’”

  1. Brian Jordan says:

    Sounds logical, getting a football fanatic to present a religious programme. Football is the new religion – and as pointless as the old ones, unless as an opiate.

  2. Old Nick says:

    Interesting programme description in the Radio Times (p63)

    “It’s a sign of how unfashionable religious programming has become that the title makes this sound like an ordinary travelogue”

    So one part of the BBC is obviously out of touch with the other!

  3. Newspaniard says:

    Another programme to ignore. Back to the DVD player… let’s see what’s available… Ah, yes… “Noah”, total fantasy fiction, good cast, great effects, no-one shoving religion down your throat.

  4. L.Long says:

    So they interview a bunch of hypocrites who IGNORE what is written in their books o’BS and live ‘good’ lives, where instead of killing others they vote into law BS that hurts others so then it aint their fault if someone is harmed. Ya! Really nice people…we put the knife into your back rather then face you with it. ALso because they believe and push BS nicely, does not make it any less BS!

  5. Broga says:

    There is no way I would watch this. The desperation to con people into watching religious programmes is clear. It is a scandal that what seems likely to be soft centred bullshit should have licence fee money wasted on it.

    What is needed is a programme to encourage a rational dissection of the beliefs the religious say they hold. That way we might at last tackle the religious inspired bigotry and violence that is so destructive.

    I don’t suppose Chiles will have much to say about religious paedophiles and the attempts by their religious hierarchies to hide them away.

  6. barriejohn says:

    I just want to find the majority; the nice, normal, gentle people who happen to be religious.

    Yes – the normal, rational people who are nominally Christian or whatever, but upon whose lives their book o’BS, as L.Long so eloquently puts it, has no real impact whatsoever. All that this really proves is that you don’t need religion to do good, but that people are inherently humane and compassionate, and that it is usually religion, nationalism, or some other ideology that transforms them into fire-breathing devils. Chiles and his ilk should stick to what they know best, and desist from muddying the waters with their nonsense.

  7. barriejohn says:

    In support of my remarks (I prefer the observations of anthropologists to those of failed football pundits), I was looking for footage of that wonderful encounter that a very young David Attenborough had with tribesmen in Borneo or Papua/New Guinea many moons ago, when the world was black and white. No one who viewed that could have failed to have been moved by it, as it brought home to us all that the things that unite members of the human race are far greater than those which separate us. I did mange to find this, but cannot vouch for its authenticity. It might have been staged for all I know (I am a born cynic!).

  8. Ivan says:

    It’s a measure of how dangerous faith has become when some religious people apparently behaving normally has become so praiseworthy.

  9. AgentCormac says:

    Perhaps the BBC would be interested in an idea I’ve had. It’s a series called ‘My World’ and each episode would open with me saying, ‘I am not superstitious.’

    My series would ignore the rise of militant atheists around the entire planet. It would not show the atrocities we have perpetrated, nor the people we have killed for disagreeing with our doctrines. (Goodness knows, we’ve all seen too much of that.) It also wouldn’t feature those we have forced to convert to our ‘belief system’ or suffer being thrown off buildings. And, of course, it wouldn’t interview anyone connected to the hacking to death muslim bloggers who have been killed in the street or in front of their families for daring to challenge our ideology.

    Sadly, I don’t think the BBC would be interested.

  10. Bill says:

    Chiles is a bloody fool helping to perpetrate the dangerous stupidity of religious belief.

    He is the equivalent of bacteria freighted particles of spittle sneezed out by sick man further spreading the contagion.

  11. RussellW says:

    The problem is that those ‘nice, normal gentle’ believers sometimes transform themselves into religious psychopaths.

  12. John the Drunkard says:

    If we could JUST get them to be ‘calm and still!’

  13. Dave says:

    Are there no ‘nice’ religious people in storm-battered, flood-sodden Britain who could have been interviewed?

  14. barriejohn says:

    Before we get too worked up about the BBC, I think I am duty-bound to point out that the first episode of War and Peace last night was nothing short of magnificent, and the equal of any Hollywood production!

    There were two dramas last year that took my breath away for TV productions as well: The Go Between and Cider with Rosie (two of my favourite books). There is also the Wildlife Department (Sir David Attenborough et al), Professor Brian Cox (as well as the other Brian Cox – see above), Dr Kevin Fong, The Sky at Night, The Royal Institution Lectures…I think all this eclipses Shark Fortnight and “The Man Who Found Noah’s Ark”!

  15. Alan Gibbons says:

    Wow! What a lot of hysterical extremist comment on this site!

  16. Stonyground says:

    @Alan Gibbons
    Could you be more specific please? What in particular do you disagree with?

  17. Cali Ron says:

    I found this part of the final paragraph particularly amusing,”More in common with a liberal Jew and a liberal Muslim…” A liberal Jew would most likely not be a practicing follower of the Jewish religion and a liberal Muslim is by their own definition an apostate who should be stoned so good luck finding any of either of those.

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and predict that this show won’t last long or receive any awards.

  18. hugh davey says:

    Fanatics look no further than the comments on this subject….i found the subject very interesting from all sides and very well presented did any off the people making comment watch the orogramme makes me wonder..and i agree with alan gibbons Hugo