TELEVISION / BRIEFING: Redeeming the betrayer

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The Independent Culture
As part of his attempt to rehabilitate Judas, the novelist Howard Jacobson is seen hanging by a noose, speeding around a supermarket spending the modern equivalent of 30 pieces of silver and sitting on a heavenly cloud spraying himself with 'Beatitude' perfume. This is WITHOUT WALLS (9pm C4) at its most wilfully provocative. Hard on the heels of Jacobson's recent three-part examination of Jewishness for C4, Roots Schmoots, 'Sorry, Judas', produced by Celia Lowenstein, opens with the novelist donning the cliched accoutrements of the reviled disciple and drinking from a bottle marked 'Infant Gentile Blood'. As his personality blends into Judas's, Jacobson asks why he was the only disciple to have his Jewishness specified in his name. Sitting around a table recreating the Last Supper with such luminaries as the Bishop of Durham and Rabbi Lionel Blue, Jacobson gets to the heart of the matter: has the traditional depiction of Judas inspired two thousand years of anti-Semitism? Whatever you think of his arguments, Jacobson has a compelling way with images. 'Sorry, Judas' features what may well be a television first: a Jewish Pope.

(Photograph omitted)