Season's !*@!* greetings
Be prepared for a most unholy Christmas. Channel 4 is to fill its festive schedule with such a tirade of expletives that even Liam Gallagher might be shocked.
But beware: you'll find little comfort if you switch over to BBC1. The channel risks outraging Christians with a documentary suggesting the Virgin Mary may have conceived Jesus after being raped by a Roman soldier. According to Channel 4 sources, a heady Christmas night combination of The Osbournes and a profile of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore's foul-mouthed alter egos, Derek and Clive, will unleash 194 f-words and 41 even ruder curses.
The biggest shock of the season for many, however, will be the content of The Virgin Mary, an hour-long documentary shown next Sunday. With the aid of dramatised reconstructions, the film will investigate four possible scenarios that could have led to the conception of Jesus.
Alongside the traditional account of the virgin birth, it will suggest he could have been fathered by Joseph out of wedlock; by another man with whom Mary had an affair; or – most controversially of all – by a rapist.
The BBC's head of religion and ethics, Alan Bookbinder, a self-proclaimed agnostic, said that the rape theory was based on the content of a little-known second century manuscript. "We address the question of whether Mary was raped," he said. "We make it clear that this is most likely to be an anti-Christian slander. It's presented as being possible, but unlikely.
"The way it's presented is like the aftermath of something happening, with a Roman soldier standing in the background. You don't actually see anything."
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