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The BBC's Emily Buchanan
"Over the centuries it has been left to artists to conjure up images of Jesus"
 real 56k

Tuesday, 27 March, 2001, 07:13 GMT 08:13 UK
BBC unveils hi-tech Jesus
Computer generated image of Jesus
Son of God "dares to ask surprising questions"
He is one of the most famous people in history but no-one knows what he looked like - until now perhaps.

Artists have traditionally represented Jesus Christ as blue-eyed, with long flowing locks, but now a new image is to be revealed.

The highlight of next season on BBC One is to be a computer-generated image of Jesus included in a new documentary about the life of Christ.

The image will be part of a new series called Son of God, and is to examine traditional Christian stories.

The programme is the centrepiece of BBC One's 253m spring and summer schedule, which was launched Monday by BBC One controller Lorraine Heggessey.

Lorraine Heggessey
BBC One controller Lorraine Heggessey took over in November 2000
Ms Heggessey feels that the new series epitomises BBC One under her command.

"It is accessible, modern in its approach and it is not afraid to challenge some cast-in-stone beliefs about what makes a mainstream popular programme," she said.

The series is set to provide an investigative approach to the life of Jesus and will be presented by former BBC Middle East correspondent Jeremy Bowen.

Thrillers

Among other highlights in BBC One's new season is Steve McFadden's first role away from EastEnders in 10 years.

Murder in Mind
Steve McFaddean leads the cast for Murder in Mind

McFadden, who plays Phil Mitchell on the soap, will lead an impressive cast including David Suchet in a series of psychological thrillers called Murder in Mind.

Steve McFadden's previous home EastEnders has recently been enjoying record audiences.

Credibility

Martin Kemp, who plays Steve Owen in the series, told BBC News Online: "The viewing figures have gone through the roof - and that isn't because people think they're watching a cartoon, it's because people think they're watching real people.

"It's a sign of the credibility of the programme."

Kemp said that the show's authenticity contributes to his job satisfaction.

"I grew up next door to a pub called the Duke of Clarence and every night I went to bed and I could hear Roll Out The Barrel coming through the walls - and every time I walk out on Albert Square it takes me back to those days."

In one of 14 new dramas scheduled, the Royle Family's Ricky Tomlinson plays a Liverpudlian private eye in Nice Guy Eddie.

Sue Johnstone, who plays the long-suffering mum in The Royle Family, is to play the long-suffering wife of a football manager in The Score.

Children

There is new comedy from Men Behaving Badly writer Simon Nye.

The Savages follows the fortunes of a young couple just coming to terms with having children.

Geoffrey Palmer, who plays the children's grandfather, told BBC News Online:

"Anyone who's ever had kids will relate to it, and the amazing change that kids make in people's lives.

"He also has a wonderful angle on what little monsters children can be - the black side of life is shown in a brilliantly funny way.

Ian Wright
Ian Wright has signed a two-year contract with the BBC

"And from the writing point of view, there's the same amazing ability of Simon's of turning what appears to be a perfectly straight situation into a wonderful comedic surprise."

Another surprise comes courtesy of former Arsenal and England footballer Ian Wright, who will take over from Ant and Dec in the gameshow Friends Like These.

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See also:

17 Oct 00 | Entertainment
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26 Mar 01 | TV and Radio
Looking for the historical Jesus
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18 Oct 00 | Middle East
Jeremy Bowen on the Middle East
28 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Royle slob turns down nude offer
16 Dec 99 | UK
Jesus, son of who?
14 Sep 00 | Entertainment
First woman to run BBC One
18 Dec 99 | Entertainment
Royles clean up at comedy awards
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