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UK Catholics angry over BBC's pogoing Pope

More than 6000 British Catholics have signed a petition condemning a new BBC cartoon, Popetown, in which Ruby Wax provides the voice of a wide-eyed pontiff who bounces around the Vatican on a pogo stick.

The 10-part animation co-stars Jerry Hall as a fame-obsessed nun and Kevin Eldon, a veteran of irreverent comedies such as Brass Eye and I'm Alan Partridge, as the central character, Fr Nicholas.

The BBC would say only that the cartoon, which is not due to be shown until later this year, is "an office comedy that happens to be set in the Vatican".

Kathleen Goble, who is co-ordinating the protest on behalf of the Centre for Peace at Ilford, Essex, said: "I send out a 'message' newsletter around the country every month, and as soon as I heard the BBC was planning this I mentioned it in one of the messages.

"Before I knew it, I had hundreds of letters from all over the country, and we now have 6,000-plus signatures," she said. "Whatever the BBC tries to say about this just being a straightforward office comedy or whatever, that's just rubbish. It's clearly a cynical, satire-type thing, and an insult.

"The Pope is old and frail, and he is one of the only leaders in the world who has the courage at a time like this to stand up, tell the truth and talk about peace."

Mrs Goble said she was considering consulting lawyers about the possibility of prosecuting the BBC and/or the program's producers.

The Independent

Popetown (BBC) | media release
BBC Three Visits Popetown For Its New Animated Series (AWN)
Ruby Wax to voice Pope character in new cartoon series (22/11/02)

25 Mar 2003