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Cathedrals

Tue Nov 12, 9-10pm, BBC4

Episode one
The church, it seems, is just as prone to bullshit management speak and specious whiteboard theorising as anywhere else. It’s just that there tends to be an extra dimension to any planning of strategy ‘going forward’. Namely, what would Jesus do? It’s a question put by director Richard Alwyn to Jonathan Greener, dean of Wakefield Cathedral. In these straitened times, would JC really spunk £3 million on a new nave? ‘I think he might,’ blusters Greener, unconvincingly.

For the most part, this – the first of three studies of different churches – is a reasonably engaging portrait of an institution under pressure. Churches are apparently as vulnerable to spending cuts as anyone – and they have the dwindling of their flocks to concern them too.

For his part, Greener initially seems pompous and self-satisfied enough to be a potential goldmine of hubris and schadenfreude. But he soon settles down, which is probably a stroke of luck for the institution he represents, even if it’s mildly disappointing in entertainment terms. Eventually, a decent study of the church’s battle for relevance in tricky times. But as a character study, nothing much more than that.

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