TELEVISION / BRIEFING: Talk of the Devil won't go away

According to a doctor in Birmingham, members of the Royal Family and the Cabinet are involved in satanism. This is the sort of assertion that comes under scrutiny in tonight's sceptical VIEWPOINT '93 (10.40pm ITV), 'In Satan's Name'. Producer / director Anthony Thomas has discovered clinics in Britain and America full of people claiming to have been victims of satanic abuse. Slaughtering your own child and then feasting on his or her limbs seems to be par for the course. Thomas journeys to Tulsa, Oklahoma - 'the religious capital of the US' - where churches are adorned with billboards proclaiming 'Free Trips to Heaven, Inquire Within'. In one of these churches, the director goes several rounds with Doug Riggs, a pastor who specialises in casting out the Devil. In a scene reminiscent of Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, Riggs pins a convulsive charge to the floor and shouts biblical quotations at him while a helpful colleague sings rousing hymns at his side. Is this sort of carry-on merely fuelling the hysteria about satanic abuse? Is the Evil Goat being used as a scapegoat for dysfunctional behaviour? Does the Devil find excuses for idle minds?

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