About the drama

First broadcast during Holy Week 2008 on BBC ONE.

The series will be available on DVD at a later date. The Bible Society is producing a pack of educational materials to accompany the series for use in schools, churches and adult education. It is legal to record the broadcast for your personal use, but it is illegal to use that copy for public display.


It's the start of Passover week. In the next few days thousands of pilgrims will pour into Jerusalem to celebrate the most important festival in their religious calendar. For their Roman masters, led by Pontius Pilate, it is the most difficult time of the year. For the High Priest Caiaphas and his Temple priests the workload will be heavy and the pressure to maintain civil order will be intense.

Then news is brought that Jesus the Galilean is approaching the city on a donkey's colt, and will be entering Jerusalem through the East Gate - thus fulfilling two of the most powerful religious prophecies of the coming of the Messiah. The one who many believe will lead them to military victory or spiritual salvation.

On the streets a crowd is beginning to gather.

And the week has only just begun...


The Passion was a bold event drama, retelling the last week in the life of Jesus Christ and written by Emmy Award winner Frank Deasy (Prime Suspect 7). The Passion was shown throughout Holy Week 2008 on BBC ONE, drawing to a dramatic climax on Easter Sunday.

Joseph Mawle (Jesus), James Nesbitt (Pontius Pilate), Paul Nicholls (Judas), Ben Daniels (Caiaphas), Penelope Wilton (Mary), Denis Lawson (Annas) and David Oyelowo (Joseph of Arimathea) lead the cast in this unique and compelling dramatisation.

Visually arresting and rich in colour, the story is rooted in the chaotic world in which it took place - the city of Jerusalem during Passover week. Set in the political and religious context of the time, it combines both narrative tension and thematic power to convey the events that took place that week.

The Passion places the audience at the heart of the action by telling the story from three points of view - the religious authorities, the Romans and Jesus. For the first time, all the key players are intimately characterised, with Jesus (Joseph Mawle) at the centre. The drama begins with Jesus' prophetic entrance through the East Gate, following him to his crucifixion and its startling aftermath.

Jane Tranter, Controller BBC Fiction, says: "The Passion is an example of BBC Drama's commitment to deliver ambitious and distinctive projects. It is a privilege to be making such a major piece of drama from the brilliant Frank Deasy, directed by Michael Offer (The State Within) with an amazing cast."

Award-winning producer Nigel Stafford-Clark (Bleak House) says: "The Passion is a gripping, multi-stranded dramatisation of not just the most familiar but arguably the greatest story ever told. Both truthful and simple - it gives it back to the audience in a way that will feel as fresh, contemporary and surprising as if it were happening for the first time."

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