Dated 19th October 2008 14.00 hrs
Andrew Lloyd Webber's decision to write the song and front a Eurovision talent show for the BBC and his announcement that he will not be back until 2010 to find a Dorothy for the Wizard of Oz means he has abandoned his attempt to resurrect the resurrection-less Jesus Christ Superstar as a result of pressure from Christians, a Christian pressure group said today.
Following the 'Oliver' series, the composer, made Baron Lloyd-Webber in 1997, said he wanted to work on finding talent for a new show of which he is composer or producer. 'Superstar' was his first choice to fit the bill. But following Eurovision, he will now be concentrating on a sequel to Phantom of the Opera instead.
That will demand his full attention until 2010, he says, when he will see if the BBC and its talent show formula search for a Dorothy to dance down the yellow-brick road will drop gold into the Lloyd Webber coffers.
As recently as April this year, Lloyd Webber said he wanted to cast Jesus as a follow-up to 'How do you solve a problem like Maria' for The Sound of Music and the 'I'd do anything' casting of Nancy and Oliver for the musical Oliver.
The prospect of the BBC auditioning pop hopefuls in front of Andrew Lloyd Webber for the role of Jesus led Christian Voice to promise Jerry Springer the Opera-style protests and evangelism if the project went ahead. A BBC insider admitted: "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 would have been held across the country and the judges, including Lloyd Webber, who would have been at each venue, faced the prospect of the queues of pop wannabe's being leafleted outside and young evangelists getting access to the audition room itself.
Stephen Green, National Director of Christian Voice, said today: "I give credit to Almighty God for this success. The BBC and Andrew Lloyd Webber have clearly buried the idea of Superstar as a result of our witness putting the fear of God into them. This shows how important it is for Christians to stand up for their Saviour, so that blasphemous shows, which bring the righteous judgment of God on us all, are not put on in our land.
"Credit is due to BBC bosses and Lord Lloyd-Webber, who appear to have taken this matter seriously, and to have found another outlet for their talents. Whether they can save the
from nul-point oblivion in Eurovision is another matter; maybe they should get on their knees and seek divine guidance. Certainly, as we survey the social wreckage of our once-great nation, its only hope lies in the incarnate Son of God, the crucified, risen, ascended, glorified Lord of lords, Jesus Christ."