Did you see… 1984 

8 April 2023 tbs.pm/78453

Did you see…

Sunday 8 April 1984




Robert Powell as himself and as Jesus of Nazareth


Gospel truth?


Channel Four’s ‘Jesus – the Evidence’ presents some hard facts about Christ while, on ITV, Robert Powell plays ‘Jesus of Nazareth’. Here, Alix Coleman talks to Powell about his own faith.

IT’S COMING up to nine years since my first involvement with Jesus of Nazareth, so you can imagine how many times I’ve talked about it. I used to hold press conferences in America where I learned very cleverly to speak for hours without saying anything.

I think I can bring the wheel full circle. I have no sure feeling in my own mind about Christ’s existence. I’d like to believe that He was there but, even if He wasn’t, the legend that has sprung up around Him is as powerful a method of believing as any other.

Discussing the proof of something like this is a complete waste of time. There can be no proof. If there was going to be proof, then I think that in 2000 years we’d have found it.

Also, if enough people believe that something is so, then it is so. In some ways, and this is absolutely not to say what I believe, it doesn’t matter whether or not Jesus existed. It’s irrelevant because 500 million people believe that He did.

The whole essence of belief is faith. Proof was the one thing that Christ refused to produce at any point. Either you believed or you didn’t. It’s terribly easy to believe something you’ve seen with your own eyes. It’s much more difficult to have faith.

What has surprised me over the years is the naiveté of people who said that unless I believed in Jesus Christ I wasn’t qualified to play Him.

It’s true I’m not a religious person, but that’s because define religiosity as practising in a formal way the pursuit of a religion through the Church or through formal channels. I have no formal religion at all, so I was distanced in very many ways. But the distances didn’t mean that while I was playing the role of Christ I didn’t totally believe in it.

Ultimately, I’d like to believe that He existed, if only because of the Sermon on the Mount. That’s not hearsay. The words are there. And there’s no profounder statement I’ve heard of how mankind should live with mankind.


You Say

2 responses to this article

Barbara Elaine Kirk 8 April 2023 at 12:20 pm

Subsequent repeats of this would have my mum saying to me ‘don’t think of Jasper Carrott!’ following Powell’s work with him in The Detectives.

Westy 11 April 2023 at 3:36 am

Was this the last time it was shown on Itv itself?

I noticed in recent years, Sky Arts had the rights, but not this year.

I’ve seen it listed on ItvX though.

Your comment

Enter it below

A member of the Transdiffusion Broadcasting System
Liverpool, Wednesday 10 April 2024