PA News, Apr. 14, 2003
By Martha Linden, PA News
An internet reality game show billed as a religious version of the Big Brother programme is to be launched at Easter, it was announced today.
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Every fourth day the web audience will vote to make one of the Ark inhabitants walk the plank after nominations by fellow contestants.
People visiting the website will be able to conduct a virtual tour of the rooms on the 3D Ark, unknown to the contestants, and listen to chat between the cartoon characters.
The contestants voted to take the plunge will be led to their fate by the Archangel Gabriel and will be able to give their final statement to the world before they drown.
More than 1,000 people inquired about the game with the best 30 “holy heavyweights” auditioned in an online chatroom.
The identity of the contestants, who are from the UK, US and Canada, will be kept secret until they either win or exit the show.
The winner will be chosen on May 30 after the Ark has spent 40 days and 40 nights on the virtual ocean, winning a prize of £666.
The contestants will play Moses, Joseph, Mary Magdalene, Nebuchadnezzar, Martha, Paul, Samson, John the Baptist, Simon Peter, Esther, Eve and Job.
Stephen Goddard, co-editor of Shipoffools.com, who is based in St Helens, Merseyside, said the six British people taking part included a theology student and a trainee minister.
He said the game involved “leading edge technology” and was the first of its kind in the world.
Mr Goddard said: “We are taking a risk because what we are concerned about is these characters slipping off the face of history – in popular culture they are tending to disappear.
“We want to bring them back to life again.
“I believe that through entertainment people will become interested in these characters again.”
Clare Rishbeth, the game administrator, said: “Esther, Job and the rest are now living in blacked-out rooms sealed with duct tape and plastic sheeting in order to prepare mentally, physically and spiritually for the voyage ahead.”