Song mocking Christ pulled from Jonathan Ross' Christmas special
A SONG by comedian Tim Minchin that describes Jesus Christ as a "zombie" and compares the Virgin Mary to a "lizard" has been cut from Jonathan Ross' Christmas broadcast by ITV executives,
Tim Minchin, an Australian comedian, wrote and performed the song for Jonathan Ross' Christmas broadcast. The show was recorded last week and is due to be broadcast tomorrow night.
It describes Christ as a "zombie" and a "telepathic vampire", and was approved by the show's producers and lawyers, Minchin claimed, but cut on the orders of Peter Fincham, ITV's director of television who resigned from the BBC over a programme trailer that misrepresented the Queen.
In the performance Minchin likened the resurrection of Jesus to the 1978 horror film 'Dawn of the Dead', singing: "Try that these days you'd be in trouble, geeks would try to smack you with a shovel."
"Jesus lives forever, which is pretty odd, but not as odd as his fetish for drinking blood," he sang while playing the piano before a studio audience and fellow guests including Tom Cruise, the actor, and the cast of Downton Abbey.
In a reference to the Christian doctrine of the virgin birth, Minchin sang: "Jesus' mother gave birth to him without having sex with a dude, no she would never be that rude, never even been nude with a dude."
He added: "Breeding without the opposite gender is commonly known as parthenogenesis, other animals that don't need males include a lot of lizards and various snails."
He compares Christ to Derren Brown, the television magician, and Psychic Sally, a theatrical clairvoyant.
Minchin insisted in a blog post it was a "silly, harmless, accurate song of praise" but had been pulled by executives scared of offending Christians.
Ross, who faced a backlash for his abusive "prank" phone calls to Andrew Sachs with Russell Brand, said he was disappointed by executives' decision to pull the song.
"Really gutted that the brilliant Tim Minchin song has been cut from my show. Decision was out of my hands," he wrote on Twitter.
Ross can be seen grinning during the performance, while Cruise appears to grimace. Afterwards Ross promotes a copy of Minchin's DVD and describes the comedian's work as "very funny but very smart as well".
Minchin said he had been asked to write the piece at the request of Ross and his producer, Suzi Aplin, and his lyrics were reviewed by "compliance people and producers and lawyers before the cameras rolled."
He wrote in a blog post: "Subsequently, Suzi and her team edited the show and everybody was happy. Suzi felt it had a nice balance of big-ticket celeb action, local talent, and a nice bit of that cheeky, iconoclastic spirit for which Jonathan is known and widely loved.
"And then someone got nervous and sent the tape to ITV’s director of television, Peter Fincham.
"And Peter Fincham demanded that I be cut from the show."
"He did this because he’s scared of the ranty, s--- stirring, right-wing press, and of the small minority of Brits who believe they have a right to go through life protected from anything that challenges them in any way."
He added: "The appropriate reaction to people who think Jesus is a supernatural being is mild embarrassment, sighing tolerance and patient education."
Peter Fincham was the controller of BBC One but resigned in 2007 after an investigation into footage that misrepresented the Queen. A trailer for a documentary, A Year with the Queen, showed the monarch "storming out" of a photography session with Annie Leibovitz. The sequence of the footage had been changed by "cavalier" editing, the report found.
An ITV spokesman said: “We often make changes to programmes before transmission and on this occasion we felt that the song didn’t quite work editorially.”