The BBC have just sent a bailiff to serve a statutory demand on Christian activist Stephen Green in respect of Mark Thompson's costs of £55,000 in the Jerry Springer the Opera case.
The demand could see Green made bankrupt and homeless.
The High Court ruled last December that Stephen Green could not prosecute Mark Thompson, the Director General of the BBC, and Jonathan Thoday of Avalon over the BBC2 broadcast of Jerry Springer the Opera and its subsequent theatre tour. The Court ordered costs against him.
Mark Thompson and Jonathan Thoday were awarded costs totalling £90,000 against Green, who is the National Director of the prayer and lobby group Christian Voice. The BBC's solicitors were awarded £55,000 and Olswangs Solicitors, who acted for Thoday, got an order for £35,000.
The costs order is better than it could have been; the BBC originally demanded almost £78,000 after instructing David Pannick QC, probably the most expensive barrister they could find, while Thoday wanted over £58,000.
Last month, Stephen Green wrote to both Mark Thompson and Jonathan Thoday inviting them to waive their costs in the interests of goodwill and justice. The appeal to the better nature of Thompson has fallen on deaf ears.
Thompson screened Jerry Springer the Opera on BBC2 in January 2005, attracting 55,000 protests, and the show itself ran at the Cambridge Theatre in
before Avalon sent it on a badly-attended tour in 2006 over which Thoday said he lost £500,000.
Stephen Green, who brought the action over Jerry Springer the Opera in his own name, said today:
'Jerry Springer the Opera portrayed Jesus Christ as a nappy-wearing sexual deviant, who said he was 'a little bit gay'. It called Mary a rape victim, said the birth of Jesus was because 'the condom split', ridiculed His wounds on the cross and the sacrament of Holy Communion, had God as an ineffectual old man who needed guidance from Jerry Springer and finished up with Springer as a counterfeit saviour of mankind who told Jesus to "Grow up for Christ's sake and put some f***ing clothes on."
'It should be enough for Mark Thompson and Jonathan Thoday that they got away with blasphemy, insulting God and the Lord Jesus Christ, at least in this life. For these rich, powerful men to pursue me into the bankruptcy courts over money I don't have would be vindictive.'
Both sets of solicitors have also threatened to chase the donors who gave the money for the original action, but it is far from clear that a court would allow that. Even if it did, Green is adamant that he will protect the donors' identity, even if that puts him in contempt of court.
'I should go to prison rather than reveal their names, even if I could remember who they were,' he told both Thompson and Thoday.
The BBC is currently wasting £18million a year on a Gaelic TV channel, £150million on BBC3 and BBC4, its well-heeled bosses spent millions changing their logo and they have just splashed out £550,000 on a completely unnecessary rebrand of the News. They have been in the public eye recently over the obscene sums of money they are paying presenters, with Jonathan Ross getting £18million for a three year contract. The BBC accounts show Mark Thompson was paid over £800,000 last year, an amount per year almost 25 times as much as Green is worth.
Stephen Green continued: 'Mark Thompson could easily pay his own costs out of his inflated salary, and the BBC certainly would never notice the odd £55,000 alongside the money they squander on a daily basis.
'I do not have the money anyway, and will end up bankrupt and homeless if Thompson continues with to try to enforce these punitive costs.'