Tuesday, June 22, 2010

An Interview With Tony Jordan 
at the Churches Media Conference

It's midsummer - when Christian concern naturally settles around the Nativity of our Lord.Or so it did, for a while anyway, at this year's Churches Media Conference held at the Hayes Conference Centre near Alfreton in Derbyshire. An interview took place there with the writer of an upcoming four-part series on the Nativity. The series will be presented, helpfully, in a more traditional time-slot this December.

Tony Jordan has had an interesting career - moving from running a market stall in London's East End to writing 250 episodes of East Enders and co-creating Life on Mars - just to name a few of this remarkable gentleman's credentials. The Nativity will run this Christmas with a mix of well known and lesser known actors in the cast.

The interview with Tony Jordan was sufficiently good that it demanded some coverage. There is a link provided at the temporary website of the Churches Media Net to a longer version of this interview (an hour and thirty minutes long), complete with housekeeping matters about seats being available at the front and a pre-interview with the interviewer himself.

What's more, it can only be listened to online.

Which means that those of you with domestic committments will end up getting your heads nipped for sitting glued to the computer with the family around or for coming to bed at an ungodly hour.

I know it's a matter of opinion but I found many of the questions asked at the end fairly pious and a bit trite. The heart of the interview - about the way in which a writer like Jordan comes up with characters for the television shows he writes and how he ended up inheriting the project of the Nativity- was of sufficient grace and moment that it simply "called out" to be topped and tailed and set out in a format which somebody could download and listen to on their way to work.

In a conference which purported to have the Christian presence on and use of New Media as one of its major themes, it would seem that the first lesson is this: if you have a good piece of audio stuffed in some virtual corner the bloggers will want it for their mates to hear.

They could ask.
I'm sure the real Christians among them would ask.

The rest of us will simply steal it - cheeky buggers that we are - top it and tail it and make it something which faithful readers of Raspberry Rabbit (all eleven of them - including Evelyn with the articial leg and the shocking pink lippy - Hi, Evelyn!) - can download onto their Ipods and listen to at their leisure.

There were other bits: Elaine Storkey versus Andrew Copson, the Chief Executive of the British Humanist Association? I didn't pinch that. Andrew Copson was twice the evangelist Elaine was. The BHA could have used that audio in one of their recruiting drives. Does Elaine Storkey really believe that Christians invented democracy?

Spinning the Pope - Catholicism in the Spotlight? Charming fellow, that Opus Dei guy, but I kept expecting the albino monk to come swinging in on a rope at any moment with a knife between his teeth. Too much of the Army of God for my taste.

No - Tony Jordan was the star - by a mile!

The interview was conducted by Michael Wakelin the former head of Relgion and Ethics Broadcasting at the BBC.

Note: The entire interview above is worth listening. Jordan talks about the process of developing a character and his time writing for East Enders and, later, developing the character of DCI Gene Hunt in Life on Mars. The material dealing specifically with The Nativity begins at 19:37 on the Soundcloud bar.


This is the fourth Churches Media Conference that I’ve attended.

I've been married a little over two years now. My wife looks over the conference schedule and can't see the allure. She imagines that there must be many beautiful young women at the conference, so at our house we simply refer to the conference as "Hot Totty" as in "will my sisters' birthday BBQ in June conflict with Hot Totty this year?"

I try to reassure her that, while the women at Hot Totty are eminently toothsome, they probably have better things to do with their time than interface on any level with complex and aging Scottish Episcopal clergymen whose affections lie elsewhere.

As for the ones who dont, well, they can chase me but they can't catch me.

No comments: