Downton Abbey star Hugh Bonneville to present RTE documentary Countdown to Calvary
RTE's first co-prodution with ARTE and American Public Television (APT)
Downton Abbey star Hugh Bonneville will present new RTE documentary Countdown to Calvary.
The doc sees the the tsar, who has a Cambridge degree in theology, travel to Jerusalem to tell the story of the last six days of Jesus' life.
It will air on RTE around Easter next year.
Speaking on location in Israel he said, "This is a place where history and faith come together. Whether you are a person of faith or of none, you cannot escape the fact that the last six days of this man’s life, and his death, changed the world.
"I’m not going to chart the religion that grew out of these events. I’m interested in the events themselves: what happened in that final week of Jesus’ life, how he died, why he died and who killed him."
Bonneville discovers how a perfect storm of social, political and religious factors brought an itinerant Jewish healer and preacher into conflict with the most powerful forces in his world and led, in the space of just six days, to his agonising death.
The doc will use location drama, CGI and graphics, and academic insights from leading experts to shed new light on the 2000 year old story.
The project marks the first project for RTE with ARTE and American Public Television.
In 2016 RTÉ and ARTE signed a new agreement that will see Irish cultural content brought to international audiences. Both parties pledged to contribute a minimum of €250,000 per annum for an initial period of two years to the development of co-productions in 2017 and 2018, particularly in the fields of documentary, arts, culture, factual, history and natural history.
American Public Television (APT), the leading syndicator of high-quality, top-rated programming to the US’s network of 360-plus public television stations, has co-produced the show with ARTE and RTÉ, and will also retain US public broadcasting rights, distributing the documentary under the title Jesus - Countdown to Calvary.