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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 May 2006, 11:28 GMT 12:28 UK
German bishops act over Pope show
Ruby Wax provides the Pope's voice in the satirical cartoon
Catholic leaders in Germany have acted to try to prevent music channel MTV from showing the controversial cartoon series Popetown.

The first episode of Popetown - which features a Pope on a pogo stick - is due to be aired in the country.

But bishops from Pope Benedict XVI's home state of Bavaria say the satirical series is insulting to Catholics, and have filed a legal injunction.

Popetown was commissioned by the BBC in 2002, but later dropped.

Viewer feedback

BBC bosses were concerned the 10-part animation, set in a fictional Vatican, would offend Catholics.

It shows an elderly Pope bouncing through St Peter's in Rome on a cross-like pogo stick and satirises religious ceremonies.

"In this way the Catholic faith and the Catholic church are exposed to ridicule, which is justified neither by the freedom of opinion, of art, of the press nor of broadcasting," the archdiocese of Munich and Freising said in a statement.

MTV said it planned to show one episode and gauge viewers' reactions.

"We will initially broadcast this first episode and then will make a decision based on the feedback of the viewers," said Mats Wappmann, a spokesman for MTV in Berlin.

The channel said it had been prepared for resistance to Popetown but was surprised at the extent of the backlash from the Catholic church.

MTV has invited church representatives, a youth political party and viewers to discuss the show in a debate to be broadcast after the cartoon on Wednesday.

Popetown features comics Matt Lucas, Bob Mortimer, Ruby Wax and Mackenzie Crook

Crook, who starred in The Office, also wrote some of the episodes.

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