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TV: J is for...

Jesus of Nazareth

Christ!GOSPEL ACCORDING To Lord Lew. ROBERT POWELL played Him in Sunday-night multi-buck epic, born out of word-in-your-ear “exchange” twixt Pope Paul and Grade over tea in the Vatican. ANTHONY BURGESS and FRANCO ZEFFIRELLI were on scripture duties, while predictably stellar cast reeled in OLIVIA HUSSEY (Mary), ANNE BANCROFT (other Mary), IAN MCSHANE (Judas), MICHAEL YORK (John the Baptist), LAURENCE OLIVIER (Nicodemus – who?), RALPH RICHARDSON (Simeon), JAMES EARL JONES (King #1), DONALD PLEASANCE (King #2), FERNANDO REY (third King), JAMES MASON (Joseph – not that one), PETER USTINOV (baby-eating Herod), CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER (another Herod), ROD STEIGER (Pilate), STACY KEACH (Barrabus), CYRIL CUSACK (Yehuda), IAN BANNEN (Amos), OLIVER TOBIAS (Joel) and legions more. Three-year shoot based in Italy and Tunisia. Cigar-chomper reputedly arrived at million-pound selling price in above-Atlantic aircraft “daydream”.



  1. Glenn Aylett

    July 18, 2009 at 8:12 pm

    Sir Lew Grade presents announced the opening credits and you knew this wasn’t going to be a studio bound cheap drama. Instead it used typical Grade location filming and Hollywood like budgets to make its point. It was also extremely well made, attracted 20 million viewers, the Pope liked it and ATV made a fortune in export sales. This really was ITV’s greatest moment for drama and made a major star out of Robert Pans People Powell. Perhaps Michael could learn from this.

  2. Johnny Foreigner

    April 2, 2010 at 11:44 am

    My Dad was mates with Robert Powell at university. As he points out everytime Holby City comes on….

  3. Jesus H. Christ

    April 2, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    If we hadn’t had this on TV, we wouldn’t have had Robert Powell’s majestic single Once Upon a Time, in which he narrates in the entirety of the cycle of the planet Earth from creation to destruction in three and a half minutes. All backed by what sounds like the BBC Concert Orchestra. OK, it’s not The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, but you can’t fault the ambition.

    “And there was MAN! (man! man!)”

  4. TV Cream

    April 2, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    To the writer of Comment 3: Shouldn’t you be dead by now?

  5. Jesus H. Christ

    April 2, 2010 at 6:57 pm

    Hey wow man, my tomb has a wireless internet connection. Modern Christianity in action! Gives me something to do while waiting for them to roll away the stone.

  6. Tony Connor

    April 7, 2010 at 1:10 am

    oooh..PART FOUR..yes..FOUR!

  7. patricia pogue

    April 8, 2010 at 9:41 pm

    i had the box set quite a few years ago and watched Jesus of Nazareth all the way through it was a great fim and so well made

  8. Markyboy70

    August 29, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    I think the same set was used by the Monty Python team for The Life Of Brian.

    • Joanne Gray

      February 18, 2017 at 3:05 pm

      And Star Wars (Tattooine scenes).

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