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Thursday, 6 January 2011


As it is Epiphany, I think it is time for me to apologise to the BBC for criticising The Nativity before seeing it.  It did take extra-Biblical liberties, but from what I saw, it brought the reality of the story to light very well.
What prompts me on this particular day is the recollection of the Top Gear presenters, Clarkson, May and Hammond traversing the desert as the 'Three Wise Men' to offer gifts to an infant Stig in a stable over Christmas.  Making fun of ordinary people's daily battle with terrorism came with dressing up in burkas, offering the wrong gifts when they got there and not having a clue what the real Wise Men's gifts of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh actually meant (they signify Christ's Kingship, his Divinity (or Priesthood) and his sacrificial death on that cross the Muslims and the Secularists hate so much).
But what has lost so much of my respect for Top Gear is not its flippant, deliberately-ignorant manner (I so hope it is deliberate), but the sham of the whole thing.
There is Clarkson being a big scaredy-cat, saying 'there might be a sniper around this corner.'  We see his timid little car poking its nose around the corner in question.  Er, filmed by the cameraman who has just taken the last two or three minutes to set up in the road in front of him around exactly the same corner, where he and the director are plainly not exactly dodging the bullets.
Some years ago, I was playing in a band at a church in Sydenham, South London, for the Epiphany service.  The woman vicar was a bit like Dawn French, but with short, grey hair.  Treating the adult congregation as if they were children, she opened, 'Well, this is the time of the church's year we call 'E-PIPH-A-NEE'.  This is when we remember that the baby Jesus had a visit from three wise men - if there is such a thing.'
On Top Gear there is indeed not such a thing.
It's only the realisation that God is working his purpose out and that Christ has the victory which enables me to say with any hope:


  1. Please refer to my own blog - posts of 23rd and 24th December - for my personal take on the BBC's production of The Nativity. I have to say that I was less impressed than you appear to have been, Stephen!

    A blessed 2011 to you, also.

    C.Brian Ross (Rev) www.crazyrev.blogspot.com

  2. CrazyRev's take is linked at the appropriate spot above

  3. The BBC Nativity was certainly better than their insipid Jesus series they done, as for the top gear Nativity, I agree it was disgusting, I shall not be watching top gear again.

  4. Yes, I must say I too was very disappointed with topgear. Having seen some of the specials which have been reasonably informative they sadly missed a chance present a decent "fresh look" at the middle east issue. The hopes and joys, as well as the problems.
    The baby Stig was disgusting. (though I could sense it coming as the scene unfolded)
    The "I'm JC" was also insulting.
    As were several other sequences.
    One tends to expect irreverence from Clarkson & co, for many thats the appeal - the kicking against the PC brigade (I often agree with 'em), but this simply crossed the line way, way too far.
    Would they have treated any other faith in such a way - no.
    But then it is the BBC, dare we expect any better?
    One more thing, how easy is it to get two passports?

  5. Tony Jordan - The scriptwriter of The Nativity who normally writes scripts for Eastenders, came to believe in the Lord through the research and writing of The Nativity. See here:-


    Certainly there was some straying from the strict gospel narative, but overall one was left with the impression that in real life ......

    I thought it was very moving,although some opportunities were missed to make things more dramatic - such as the shepherds seeing the glory in the heavens - but a good effort nevertheless and more than most of us could ever have hoped for from the BBC normally.

  6. I gave up watching three little boys years ago their infantile antics are not fit air space. I wonder what the response would be if they made fun of a certain prophet I could name. May free speech remain in the UK.