BBC Drama - getting it all wrong (again)
I've had a go at the BBC before, specifically about the (not so) subtle exclusion of Christianity from its portrayal of Medieval England. I haven't watched much TV over Christmas but I did catch a bit of Oliver Twist on Sunday. I wish I hadn't. In one of the later scenes, Fagin ends up before the beak (Rob Brydon playing Fang - originally the magistrate before whom Oliver comes when he is caught stealing by Brownlow, rather than a Crown Court judge who hears jury trials, but I'll let that pass).
When the verdict comes and Fagin is found guilty, he cries and the judge asks if he is seeking clemency. The judge then begins a tirade against Fagin (famously Jewish and referred to as 'the Jew' in Dickens' novel) in which he implies that he will be lenient if "you gets down on your knees to Christ" and "beg mercy of Christ". Fagin says "I cannot do that", so the black cap is donned and Fagin is sentenced to hang. You'll remember the scene of course. You don't? Of course you don't because it isn't in the novel, and if you don't believe you can read the scene below or check out the whole novel as a pdf HERE or as HTML HERE:
One can only assume that the writer has an anti-Christian agenda. Why else would she show the judiciary as proselytising, seeking to convert a Jew to Christianity in order to save his neck in the midst of a capital case? The potrayal has no basis in fact , either in the novel or in English legal history (though I would be happy to be corrected if anyone could give me evidence to the contrary).
Yet again, the BBC is happy to use poetic licence (and licence-payers' money) to calumnise the Christian Faith. I'm not usually the sort of nutter who writes letters in green ink but I have complained as follows:
In the final scenes of this drama, Fagin after he is convicted and facing sentence is subjected by the judge (who should not have been portrayed by Rob Brydon as Mr Fang - Mr Fang was a magistrate rather than a Crown Court judge) to a tirade in which he was asked to apostasise and convert from his Jewish faith to Christianity. The judge impels him to beg Christ for clemency and kneel to Christ, implying he would spare Fagin if he did so. No such scene exists in the book. I can only assume that this grotesque parody is intended to put the Christian faith in a poor light and reflects the screenwriter's own agenda. The main points I would like addressed are as follows:
1. Why did the writer insert a scene which does not exists in the book and which has no corresponding theme in the book which it could legitmately echo?
2. Was the aim of this scene to demonstrate the Victorian judiciary as proselytising and if so does she have any corrobrating evidence that this was the case?
3. If not, what was the aim of the writer in inserting this scene into the drama?
4. At no stage in the book is Fagin called by any character to become a Christian. Why is there any reference to this at all?
. I urge you to do likewise HERE