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Photo of Lisbetta Barclay in Waking the Dead (played by Claire Benedict)
Waking the dead

Posted on 04 April 2011, 23:45

BBC cold case crime series, Waking the Dead, got its religion in a glorious twist last night.

The story centred on a black family whose mum is a Christian fruit and nutcase, and therefore opened with a black Pentecostal service with everyone on their feet waving hands and Bibles in the air, ululating and praising the Lord, even though the preacher was insisting what a load of miserable sinner they all were. So far, so predictable.

Next thing, we saw that mum had made a sort of shrine in the back garden for her son, who had been missing presumed dead for the past six years. And like any good Pentecostal, she included plaster statues of saints in her shrine, plus a nice big one of the Virgin Mary. Because as everyone knows, Pentecostals are really, like, huge on the Virgin Mary.

A few minutes later, one member of the police team told another that mum (by now revealed to be violently anti-Muslim) is ‘an evangelical’. So which is it, then? Is mum a raving Penty, a weird traditionalist Catholic or a Muslim-hating Evo?

The answer seems to be all three at once, because whichever office junior was tasked with researching the religious backstory simply went to the BBC filing cabinet, looked into the ‘crazed religion’ folder and used the entire contents, including all its tired stereotypes, instead of picking just the one.

I’m looking forward to the concluding episode tonight, when mum will turn out to be a swivel-eyed Ulster Hot Prot with a borderline-sexual fixation on the Anglican Prayer Book.

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Ok, but whose fault is it that this happens? Do Christians bear some responsibility, and if so what can we do about it?

Sarah, Thu 7 Apr, 16:37

Who told you that in real life, everyone understands these differences? I’m sure they don’t. So the coppers remark is allowable. As to the shrines; when the police looked out of the window, and when Boyd looked in the wardrobe, the audience has to see something they will instantly recognise as a Christian shrine or totem. Not a mistake, therefore, but a necessary plot device. Artistic license. Don’t be so hasty.

Tony B, Thu 7 Apr, 10:53

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