Page last updated at 05:56 GMT, Wednesday, 30 July 2008 06:56 UK

Vicar supports Life of Brian ban

From left: Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, Graham Chapman, Eric Idle, Sue Jones-Davies (centre) , John Cleese and Michael Palin
Sue Jones-Davies (centre) with the Monty Python team on the film

A mayor's plan to end her town's ban on the 1979 Monty Python film Life of Brian are being opposed by the local vicar, who says it pokes fun at Jesus.

Sue Jones-Davies, who played Brian's girlfriend in the movie, was amazed when she became mayor of Aberystwyth that it was still barred at the cinema.

But Reverend Canon Stuart Bell said Christians he spoke to in Ceredigion were still against it being shown.

The mayor declined to respond, but will still press for the ban to be lifted.

Long before she donned her mayoral robes in Aberystwyth, Ms Jones-Davies played Brian's girlfriend in the cult movie.

However, when it was released, critics accused the Python team of blasphemy with its story about a Jewish man who was mistaken for the messiah and then crucified.

The Rev Stuart Bell
If someone was going to make fun of my wife in a film then I would oppose that... making fun of Jesus Christ, whom I love more than my wife, in a film is going to offend me
Reverend Stuart Bell

Some religious groups picketed cinemas which screened the film, and it was banned from being shown in some towns and cities, including Aberystwyth.

Nearly 30 years on, Mr Bell, vicar of the town's St Michael's Church, said the restriction should remain in place.

"There's been no change in attitude or response to the film amongst the Christians who have spoken to me in Aberystwyth," he explained.

"The film at its root is poking fun at Christ and we don't want that to happen. I don't think that the film should be shown. Why should the ban be removed?"

Asked if he had ever seen the film, Mr Bell said he had "seen a small clip, that's all".

He said: "If someone was going to make fun of my wife in a film then I would oppose that.

Aberystwyth mayor Sue Jones-Davies
Sue Jones-Davies has switched acting roles for mayoral robes
"Making fun of Jesus Christ, whom I love more than my wife, in a film is going to offend me."

Earlier this month, Ms Jones-Davies said: "I would like to think that any religion would have the generosity to see the film for what it is, which is a comedy."

The movie has grown in popularity over the years, and usually appears at or near the top of lists of the greatest comedy films.

It featured some iconic lines, most famously the verdict by Brian's mother on her son: "He's not the messiah - he's a very naughty boy".

Ms Jones-Davies played a revolutionary called Judith Iscariot, and she had a nude scene with the film's hero, Brian, played by the late Graham Chapman.

It is understood a committee of church leaders in Aberystwyth recommended a ban in 1979.

Ceredigion council has the power to lift it, but a spokesman said earlier this month that no-one in the licensing department knew about the ban.

But Michael Davies, the owner of Aberystwyth's Commodore Cinema, said he was sure it was still in place.

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