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UK Catholics challenge churchgoers' image in TV soapies

A British Catholic group has launched a campaign to challenge the portrayal of churchgoers in television drama programmes as mad and morally suspect.

The Pro-Life Alliance, an organisation set-up by the late Cardinal Thomas Winning, is angry that religious soap characters are shown as objects of fun and ridicule.

They are asking Catholics to monitor the content of television programs they watch and to lodge complaints where they see religious characters depicted in a negative way.

Sister Roseann Reddy, who runs the Glasgow-based group which offers financial help and emotional support to women considering an abortion, said few people could take the characters seriously because they were "over the top" and "mad". In other soaps religious characters were only introduced into shocking storylines. She cited the examples of the character Margaret Clemence, a nanny, who ran off with Father Derek O'Farrell, a Catholic priest, in Brookside.

"Religion is not a minority thing in this country, yet in any of the soap operas, Christians are mad," said Reddy. "Any religious people in them are bonkers. They are complete wimps or completely mad. It concerns me because it is really very inaccurate.

"It is about balance. Most Catholics do not run off with their priest."

Prolife Alliance

Sunday Times (UK)

3 Apr 2002