The Nativity Factor ran for five years up until 2015. The project aimed to remind everyone that Christmas is a holiday when Christians mark the birth of Jesus Christ. Using the power of online video to deliver the true meaning of Christmas, the Nativity Factor asked budding filmmakers to create their version of the Nativity story. There is more information on the Nativity Factor website www.nativityfactor.com.
Sir Derek Jacobi headed the cast for Classic FM’s Christmas Day 2013 Drama. Part thriller, part magical comedy, The Bethlehem Tales retells the Christmas story, from Annunciation to the Flight into Egypt, from the point of view of contemporary eye-witnesses. Interwoven with music drawn from the best of three centuries of Christmas Cantatas and Oratorios, the family radio play offers a different perspective on the Christmas story.
Political tension is building in Israel following the Roman census. A series of confused rumours about signs and forewarnings in the City of David are going around. Somewhere on the road from Bethlehem, a merchant – one of Herod’s agents – stops at an isolated inn. Here a group of travellers heading towards Egypt is whiling away the evening telling stories. Each of the travellers witnessed a different part of the events surrounding the Nativity. Now, during this one night, these Bethlehem Tales try to convince Herod’s informer to abandon his calling and follow a new star.
Written by David Spicer and directed by Frank Stirling, The Bethlehem Tales was the third Christmas drama made by Unique for Classic FM in association with Jerusalem Productions. It was broadcast on Christmas Day 2013.
Broadcast on Classic FM on Christmas Day 2011, The Christmas Mysteries is a play based on The Wakefield Mysteries – the medieval pageants performed in the late Middle Ages. It tells the nativity story from the points of view of a rowdy rabble of smelly tanners, a saucy knave, a pious Abbot and a God-Fearing former monk, interspersed with English classical music. The Christmas Mysteries was written by David Spicer and co-produced by Unique the Production Company.
This adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s beautiful nativity story, On Angel Wings, was broadcast on Christmas Day 2010 on Classic FM. Produced with Unique the Production Company and adapted by David Spicer, the programme was narrated by Michael Morpurgo and featured Imogen Stubbs and Jack Shepherd. It tells the story of a young shepherd boy who is left behind to guard the sheep after the Angel Gabriel’s visit. He bemoans the injustice of being left behind, Gabriel takes pity of him, and he becomes Christ’s first visitor.
Pic: Imogen Stubbs and Hugo Docking at the On Angel Wings recordings