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God On Trial 
(l-r) Dominic Cooper as Moche, Antony Sher as Akiba, Eddie Marsan as Lieble

God On Trial: a new 90-minute drama for BBC Two – Wednesday 3 September 2008, 9.00-10.30pm



Introduction


God On Trial is a 90-minute drama for BBC Two written by Frank Cottrell Boyce (Welcome To Sarajevo, Hilary And Jackie, 24 Hour Party People), his first television project in ten years.

 

Cottrell Boyce's script takes as a starting point the story that prisoners in Auschwitz, their faith tested by their suffering and the barbarity of the Nazis, put God on trial.

 

In the drama the charge is that God has broken his covenant with his chosen people to protect and care for them; the trial takes place in a camp blockhouse over the course of one day around a selection of those prisoners who are going to be taken to the gas chamber.

 

Cottrell Boyce is one of this country's most versatile and prolific screen writers, with a career that includes spells on both Brookside and Coronation Street, five films with director Michael Winterbottom, including The Claim and A Cock And Bull Story, and Millions for Danny Boyle.

 

God On Trial stars Sir Antony Sher – best known as an Olivier Award-winning stage actor but also nominated for a BAFTA for Best Actor for Primo on BBC Four – Rupert Graves (The Forsyte Saga, Charles II), Jack Shepherd (The Golden Compass, A Cock And Bull Story, Wycliffe), Stephen Dillane (The Cazalets, The Hours), Dominic Cooper (Mamma Mia, Sense And Sensibility, The History Boys), celebrated Swedish actor Stellan Skarsgard (Mamma Mia, Pirates Of The Caribbean, Good Will Hunting, Breaking The Waves), Lorcan Cranitch (Cracker, Ballykissangel, Rome), Rene Zagger (The Bill, Rome), Eddie Marsan (The Illusionist, Pierrepoint, Vera Drake) and Blake Ritson (Mansfield Park, The Commander).

 

Executive Producer Mark Redhead comments: "With the attacks of September 11 and the Iraq war, religion is now centre-stage in a way that has not occurred before in my lifetime; extraordinary atrocities are being committed in the name of God, while natural calamities and man-made disasters claim thousands of lives every year.

 

"God On Trial is set in an extreme situation, but it wrestles with the great questions we all ask ourselves: how can there be so much suffering in the world, and what kind of a god could let such things happen?

 

"God On Trial attempts to look at some of the most perplexing metaphysical issues, but it is also a drama about what keeps the human spirit alive even when faced with the worst suffering and impending death."

 

God On Trial was filmed on location in Glasgow over a two-week period.

 

The director is Andy de Emmony (Filth: The Mary Whitehouse Story; Recovery, Fantabulosa!), the producer is Jemma Rodgers (Wedding Belles, Murphy's Law) and the Executive Producers are Mark Redhead (Bodies, Fairy Tales, Bloody Sunday) and BBC Scotland Head of Drama Anne Mensah.

 

God On Trial was commissioned by BBC Fiction Controller Jane Tranter and Roly Keating, Controller of BBC Two.

 

It is a Hat Trick production for BBC Scotland.

 

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