|Ann Widdecombe in Lewes|
Before the programme bogs down in the inevitable Anglocentric bias - Henry VIII and all that - there is a nice intro with some great views of Wittenberg, Worms and the Wartburg. Luther is described, accurately I think, as imagining himself a prophet of the End Days. Widdecombe is surprisingly generous toward the reformer, but really endears herself to me by failing to mention that painful and pesky impediment to the cause of the gospel, John Calvin, even once. Nice touch.
Two remarkable images stick from the screening. One is footage of that sad, myopic Baptist, Ian Paisley, loudly heckling the late pope John Paul II as he attempted to address the European parliament. The second is the bonfire night celebrations in the English town of Lewes where, to this very day, they burn the pope in effigy each year to commemorate the martyrdom of fifteen local Protestants during the reign of Bloody Queen Mary. According to the organiser, even Catholics join in the festivities, though Mrs Widdecombe was clearly not amused.
But putting all that aside, Ann Widdecombe's perspective as a new Catholic is interesting, and her personal stake in the issues moves this treatment beyond the usual dry academic approach. Well worth the investment of an hour.