I notice the way in which a good scriptwriter allows the embarrassing, open-ended, confusional bits of the story that often get skated over in school or church nativities, to have their full weight in the characters’ lives. Joseph’s basic mistrust of Mary’s story lasts two episodes, but no scene takes longer than ninety seconds max. Every part of the story tells us something we needed to know more than we realised. Mr Jordan is no paid-up religionist, but he obviously feels the story’s power and draws us in accordingly.
So what did writing this stuff do for him? I was interested to hear his interview with Aled Jones on Radio 2. As well as challenging secularist complacency and stereotypes, he challenges religious equivalents. It would be worth the religious contemplating Tony Jordan’s comments about what we are communicating and how in the light of Christ:
I still have a hasty distrust of organised religion. I generally do and that’s the thing that hasn’t changed at all. My faith has changed and I have changed as a person because of the nativity, but not my feelings when I look at organised religion and different denominations all fighting about which foot his sandal’s on and blessed are the cheesemakers, I just think of the life of Brian, and it drives me insane and I dislike the thought of somebody saying to me “If you come through those doors and you walk down that aisle, and you sit on that wooden bench, quietly, and you sing these hymns in that order, and I've put the order up so you don't get it wrong, and you listen to what I’m saying, I’ve got God in a little bottle under the pulpit, and I’ll take the lid off and let you have a little look, and then I’ll put the lid back on and then I’ll see you again next week, and if you're good I’ll let you have another look. Christ doesn’t belong to them. I don’t have to go there to get him. And actually he told me to go away and pray in my wardrobe. That’s what he says, in his teachings. He says don't go to the Church to be seen, go and sit in your wardrobe and say “Daddy” because that’s what the relationship should be, and what’s really strange for me is the change in me was a tangible one because I suddenly realised, half way through my research I started arguing God’s corner, which is something I’d never thought I’d do...Full interview: