2nd May 2008
The prospect of the BBC auditioning pop hopefuls in front of Andrew Lloyd Webber for the role of Jesus has led a Christian group to promise Jerry Springer the Opera-style protests and evangelism if the project goes ahead.
Christian Voice said tonight that they might even try to get young Christians into the audition room itself to share the Gospel of the real Jesus Christ with Lord Lloyd-Webber himself.
The BBC are now said to be reconsidering their decision to air the reality TV show based on Andrew Lloyd Webber's Jesus Christ Superstar just weeks after the composer said he wanted to cast Jesus as a follow-up to Maria in The Sound of Music and Nancy and Oliver in the musical Oliver.
The TV shows How do you solve a problem like Maria and I'd Do Anything were regarded by TV bosses as such a success that Lord Lloyd-Webber (he was raised to the peerage in 1999) has been urged to come up with another one. He said in March: "I have an idea to do Jesus Christ Superstar next year and then maybe another all-new show which I'm really excited about."
But the BBC are now said by the website UnrealityTV 'to be worried that they will face the same sort of complaints from Christian groups that they faced over Jerry Springer Opera a few years ago.'
The Sun was told by a BBC insider: "Some Christian groups are bound to have a problem with Andrew telling people, 'You could be Jesus.' "
Jesus Christ Superstar caused protests from Christians during its 1970s
run by portraying Jesus Christ as a mere man, a tormented character buffeted by events. It ended with Him being laid in the tomb and there was no resurrection.
Auditions could take place this year, but as with previous shows, they will be held across the country and the judges, who will include Lloyd Webber, will be at each venue.
Stephen Green, National Director of Christian Voice, said tonight: "If it were to go ahead, the show would then become for Christian Voice very much a 'Jerry Springer the Opera' operation, with witness and evangelism at every venue. There are still plenty of veterans of the early protests over Jesus Christ Superstar around who would love to share the Gospel with the queuing wanabees. It might even be that we could encourage Christian singers to enrol in order to tell Andrew Lloyd-Webber just what they think of his project in the audition room itself."