Television

BBC pulls the plug on cartoon series criticising the Pope

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MUMBAI: The BBC has caved to the pressure from different groups regarding its animation series Popetown. The Beeb has decided not to air the series.



Popetown, featuring the voices of comedian Ruby Wax as the pontiff and model Jerry Hall as a fame-hungry nun, was commissioned for the digital channel BBC3. The animation featured corrupt cardinals and an infantile pope who bounced around the Vatican on a pogo stick.



BBC3 controller Stuart Murphy said, "Popetown was a challenging project for BBC3 to undertake. After a lot of consideration and consultation, balancing the creative risk with the potential offence to some parts of the audience, we have decided not to transmit the programme."



"Despite all of the creative energy that has gone into this project and the best efforts of everyone involved, the comic impact of the delivered series does not outweigh the potential offence it will cause. It has been an extremely difficult and complex decision to make. There is a fine judgement line in comedy between the scurrilously funny and the offensive," he added.



The decision was supported by BBC television director Jana Bennett. She however added, "Risk taking is a key part of the role of BBC3. Stuart and the channel will continue to break new ground in the notoriously difficult area of comedy. BBC3 is an evolving channel and in its short life has already had real success in breaking strong and distinctive new comedy, such as Monkey Dust, Nighty Night and Little Britain."

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