In a truly courageous act of bridge-building in the face of rising world tensions over the Danish cartoons, the BBC has taken it upon itself to equal things up a bit, by gamely attempting to piss off some Christians too. At least, that's the only sane explanation behind the recent announcement of this astonishing pile of shite.
The BBC plans to mark the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ this Easter with an hour-long live procession through the streets of Manchester featuring pop stars from The Stone Roses and Happy Mondays and featuring songs by The Smiths and New Order.
In the programme, called Manchester Passion, a character representing Jesus will sing the legendary Joy Division anthem Love Will Tear Us Apart before dueting his arch-betrayer Judas on the New Order hit Blue Monday, according to senior church sources involved in the production.
In retrospect, it was only really a matter of time: many noted social commentators have, in the past, pointed out the almost uncanny similarities between the crucifixion, death and eventual ascent into heaven of the Son of God in early Judean times, and the 'Madchester' music scene, circa 1990.
'People often think of Jesus as just being all about the sandals and shit,' said a BBC spokesperson. 'But in many ways, he was the Shaun Ryder or Busta Rhymes of his day. After all, Jesus had long hair, outspoken views and a gang of rowdy mates. So did the Happy Mondays.'
But aren't they worried people will be offended by the choice of songs?'
'It's uncanny how easily some of these songs fit,' replied the BBC. 'Especially if you tweak the lyrics a bit. We're hoping to include the Arctic Monkeys 'I bet that you look good on a two-by-four' for the actual crucifixion scene.'
And what of rumours that if the show is a success, further biblical epics could be produced in a similar vein? 'Absolutely,' confirmed the BBC spokesperson, 'This thing could run and run. We've already got plans for a hip-hop Moses called, 'It Takes A Nation Of Egyptians (To Hold Us Back)'.
UPDATE: infinite muppets ups the pun stakes something fierce. But um, the Department still has the purty pictures...