Bishop criticises campaigners over Springer opera protests
The Bishop of Worcester has criticised campaigners who issued death threats to BBC staff over the controversial screening of 'Jerry Springer - The Opera'.
The Rt Rev Dr Peter Selby labelled the people involved in the threats "disgraceful" for forcing some managers at Television Centre to require 24-hour security protection.
Security guards are continuing to monitor the North London home of Roly Keating, the Controller of BBC 2, who received threats from protesters. The homes of six other BBC executives were also targeted after Christian Voice, an extreme Christian group, posted their addresses and telephone numbers on its website.
Other Christian groups involved in the protests against the Springer Opera have come in for criticism too, after they inflated the number of swearwords used in the Opera. The show was reported to contain a total of 8,000 obscenities - but the total was reached by adding every swear word sung by each member of the 27-strong chorus.
The programme, screened on BBC 2 on Saturday night, attracted a record 48,000 complaints before it was aired.
The BBC has received 900 complaints since the broadcast, with 500 people calling or e-mailing in support. A spokesperson said this was a higher than average number of calls in defence of a programme.
"Some of the reactions have been, frankly, over the top and in terms of threats to individual executives, quite disgraceful," the bishop told BBC Hereford and Worcester radio.
Bishop Peter refused to condemn the programme, even saying it could be "a good thing" if it provoked a debate about whether religion was an individualistic interest.
Jonathan Bartley, director of the Christian thinktank Ekklesia said at the weekend that Christians had also missed a golden opportunity to debate important moral and ethical issues by pursuing protests against ëJerry Springer - The Opera."