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