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On Holy Ground

19th December 2018

same place, different century
same place, different century

​Anyone who makes for BBC4 among other patrons hears the same old thing all the live-long day: don’t make it too BBC4. Too clever. Too arch. Too many long-held shots and opinions. Too many assumptions about prior knowledge: viewers know nothing about the subject until you tell them. To be frank, the rule of thumb is: the lower the number of the channel the smaller the grasp of the viewer, and fans of odd-numbered channels don’t need hand-holding, they need a stretcher. 

Painting the Holy Land, Lachlan Goudie’s artistic pilgrimage to the places where the Easter story happened, possibly, is a rare thing; a BBC1 Daytime commission deemed suitable for an evening audience on BBC4. At 0900 on One and at 2000 on Four let the artist transfix you with his tale of the Nazarene, a man, who like Lachlan, was for a while, all things to all people. On Easter Sunday, Lachlan tells the story of his mother. There's something about Mary. She too appealed to diverse audiences, a shadowy presence in the New Testament, but a major figure in the Koran.