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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 December 2004, 12:10 GMT
Church outrage over Shameless ad
A billboard advert for a TV comedy depicting The Last Supper with a drunken dad as Jesus, has outraged a south-east London vicar.

The poster promoting Channel 4's Christmas episode of Shameless has been put up in front of St Olav's Church in Rotherhithe.

Father Helge Pettersson said it was outrageous and insensitive.

A programme publicist said the intention was to produce a comic contrast, not to offend.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said it has received 57 complaints about the poster.

Tinsel crown

The advert features 12 members of the dysfunctional Gallagher family seated around the dinner table for a drunken Christmas meal - resembling Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper.

In the centre is head of the family, dad, Frank wearing a tinsel crown with lager can and cigarette in hand.

Fr Pettersson told BBC News: "We have had lots of complaints.

"One lady that parks on the street said, 'I'm Roman Catholic and I am married to a Muslim and we both think it's outrageous that you can do anything like that in front of a church'.

"But I'm just an ordinary priest in a big city where people seem to be allowed to do whatever they want."

The main complaint is it's shocking and offensive and shows Christ in a drunken state
Donna Mitchell, Advertising Standards Authority
Deborah Goodman, the programme's publicist, said: "The poster image reflects a scene that appears in the Christmas special in which Paul Abbott [writer] superimposes the chaotic Gallagher family on to a well known image.

"The intention is to produce a comic contrast between the painting and the Gallaghers in full festive mood. The aim was not to offend."

Donna Mitchell from ASA said: "The main complaint is it's shocking and offensive and shows Christ in a drunken state."

She said the authority is deciding whether to take action.

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