BBC 2's When Romeo Met Juliet

I got a pleasant surprise when watching BBC 2’s worthy offering When Romeo Met Juliet. The first programme is about finding a teenage cast of Romeo and Juliet from two very different schools in Coventry. One school, Cardinal Newman Catholic School is a school devoted to the arts where from the student population the actress Juliet and the Capulets are to be found. When the head teacher, Carol Buchanan was introducing her school on film, she confidently said, 'as a Christian community, as a Catholic community we have a belief that we're trying to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ and that will underpin absolutely everything that we do.' There is then a video clip of a statue of Jesus and of Carol Buchanan leading the school assembly with the sign of the cross. You may see the full programmer here
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00snbtc
There was a decided bravery in the head teacher’s forthrightness about the school’s Christian ethos, and I have e-mailed Carol Buchanan to say well done, the gist of the e-mail was; 'Well done for your role in the BBC 2 programme When Romeo Met Juliet.

May I extend my congratulations for the clarity, sense of purpose and above all bravery with which you clarified the essential nature of Cardinal Newman Catholic school when you said 'as a Christian community, as a Catholic community we have a belief that we're trying to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ and that will underpin absolutely everything that we do.'

Formerly, I was a teacher for a number of years, and have often been described as 'a devout Catholic' and write a blog where I describe what my Catholic faith means to me, but I wonder would I have been courageous enough to say what you said. You have been a good example to many, and may God reward you.'


I am however a tad surprised that BBC 2 included this piece of footage in the documentary, because with hundreds of hours of filming to chose from, why do they suddenly chose a moment that illuminates the Christian faith? Or could it be that the open practice of Christianity has become controversial to the point where it will hold the viewer’s wandering attention?

Blurb for When Romeo Met Juliet
'One city, eight weeks and two contrasting schools come together to put on a professional production of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. In a unique experiment, each school is cast as one of the two feuding families at the heart of the world's favourite love story. Romeo and his Montague clan come from a Coventry city centre comprehensive while Juliet and the Capulets are from a Catholic school in the city's northern suburbs. Trying to get the show on the road is artistic director of the National Youth Theatre, Paul Roseby. Also on hand as mentors - one for each school - are Hustle actor and RADA-trained Shakespeare fan Adrian Lester and his wife, actress Lolita Chakrabarti. Can they help the teenage cast overcome their preconceptions about Shakespeare, and work with each other, to create a Romeo and Juliet for a new generation, iambic pentameter and all?'

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