CHANNEL Four is considering the first draft of a three part series satirising the Papacy for broadcast next year. Provisionally entitled either "Who Killed the Pope"? or "The Pope Must Die", the series has been scripted by the Comic Strip, a production company responsible for many recent send-ups of current events, including the 1984 miners' strike The first draft of the script about Pope Dave the First is now being considered by Channel Four executives. The commissioning Editor for Entertainment, Seamus Cassidy, will be taking soundings from senior colleagues including Chief Executive Michael Grade, and Director of Programmes, Liz Forgan. Ms Forgan has this week rejected concerns about the subject matter. "You will just have to wait and see. Some people say the comic Strip people bring problems and controversy, others that they are a delight".
The three one-hour programmes will star Alexei Sayle as Pope Dave, and will feature comedians Robbie Coltrane, Jennifer Saunders and Dawn French. The planned series will take the form of a parody of the American mini-series genre.
A spokesman for Channel Four this week told the Catholic Herald that the series was still in the planning stage. No final commitment had been made.
• IN a speech at the International Edinburgh Television Festival, Greg Dykes, director of programmes at London Weekend Television, dropped heavy hints that the challenge of satellite broadcasting in the 1990s would mean that specialist areas like religion would be pushed to the margins of maintime scheduling. His comments were in line with his recent reported enthusiasm for axing the "Godslot", the Sunday evening "gentleman's agreement" between BBC and ITV to run parallel religious programming.