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Last Updated: Friday, 3 June, 2005, 10:36 GMT 11:36 UK
Legal threat over Springer opera
Jerry Springer - The Opera
Ofcom decided the show did not break TV standards
A Christian organisation has threatened to take legal action against a Birmingham theatre if it stages Jerry Springer: The Opera.

The Hippodrome plans to run the musical, which depicts figures from the Bible as guests on Springer's talk show, next February.

Christian Voice says the show is deliberately offensive and provocative to Christians.

But the theatre says audiences "will be keen to make up their own minds".

If you wanted to be deliberately offensive and provocative to Christians, you couldn't do much better
Steven Green, Christian Voice

Steven Green, from Christian Voice, said: "This is a show that portrays Jesus Christ as a sexual pervert, dressed in a nappy, who says he's a little bit gay, an impotent old fool.

"Mary, the mother of Jesus, is told that she was raped by God, raped by an angel.

"If you wanted to be deliberately offensive and provocative to Christians, you couldn't do much better than put Jerry Springer: The Opera on at the Birmingham Hippodrome."

But Bishop Michael Reed, from The Christian Congress for Traditional Values, said freedom of speech should be allowed.

He added: "I do think it's different if people want to pay to go to a theatre, as much as I find the whole thing totally offensive. That is their choice and we're against censorship.

"What we are against is people using the airwaves, a public corporation, broadcasting it."

'New audience'

In a statement, the Hippodrome's chief executive, Stuart Griffiths, said: "A production that wins this many awards can only be described as a true phenomenon.

"Bringing opera to a whole new audience in the way the writers have done must be applauded, so we're looking forward to welcoming Jerry Springer: The Opera."

The BBC received more than 60,000 complaints over the broadcast of the hit stage show in January.

More than 7,940 people complained to the media regulator Ofcom before it was shown on BBC Two, followed by a further 8,860 afterwards.

But Ofcom decided that the screening did not break rules on TV standards.




SEE ALSO:
TV watchdog clears Springer opera
09 May 05 |  Entertainment
BBC rejects Springer complaints
30 Mar 05 |  Entertainment
Christian group takes BBC action
14 Mar 05 |  Entertainment
Row over Springer opera donation
23 Feb 05 |  Entertainment


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