BBC Decides Not to Air Popetown

LONDON, SEPT. 24, 2004 ( The BBC will be scrapping Popetown, an unfavorable cartoon caricature of the Pope about the inner workings of the Vatican.

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The Catholic Communications Service reported the announcement of Stuart Murphy, Controller of BBC 3.

«There is a fine judgment line in comedy between scurrilously funny and the offensive. I knew when we developed the series that there was risk involved, but unfortunately, once we saw the finished series, it became clear that the program fell on the wrong side of that line,” he said.

Bishop Crispian Hollis of Portsmouth and chairman of the Strategic Communications Committee of the bishops’ conference of England & Wales, commented that he was “delighted that this has been withdrawn. It was obviously going to be a controversial program which would have caused offence, not least among the Catholic community who hold the person of the Holy Father in the highest regard and affection.

“Any attempt to belittle or diminish his status as the leader of the Catholic Church is totally unacceptable, and not only to Catholics,» the bishop said.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, president of the episcopal conference of England & Wales, said that he had “raised this issue with the BBC. I am very happy they have heeded my wishes and the concerns of Roman Catholics.”

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