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Last Updated: Sunday, 25 February 2007, 14:59 GMT
Pews filled for Python film show
More than 100 people watched the controversial Monty Python film Life of Brian at a church on Tyneside.

Some condemned the 1979 film as blasphemous, because of its story of a Jewish man who is worshipped as the Messiah and then crucified.

The Anglican St Thomas the Martyr church in Newcastle screened the film as part of a project with the independent Tyneside Cinema.

Master of the church Reverend Pat Widdows said the event was a sell-out.

When first released, some religious groups picketed cinemas which screened the film, claiming it poked fun at the story of Christ.

Song sheets

The screening of the film featured an organ accompaniment and provision of song sheets.

Rev Widdows said: "We are limited on how many people we can get into the building because of fire regulations, but we had about a 100 people here on Friday and it was a sell-out.

"We had church helpers giving out popcorn and the whole event went very well."

He said song sheets were given to those in attendance so they could join in with the song featured at the climax of the film when the main character Brian is crucified - Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life.

Rev Jonathan Adams defended the screening of the film, saying: "Jesus of Nazareth is not some sort of hot house plant that we need to protect from criticism and scrutiny.

"The Church is really in trouble if it does not pay attention to that sort of questioning."

The Monty Python team always insisted the film was intended as a spoof on Bible films and intolerance, rather than of Christianity.

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