British TV exorcism planned

Religious leaders are concerned the exorcism will be dangerous

An exorcism will be shown for the first time on British television as part of a new programme, the Daily Mirror reports.

But religious leaders have slammed the idea and said Channel 4’s show, Exorcism, could be “very dangerous”.

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The programme is being pitched as a serious scientific experiment as industry regulator Ofcom prohibits “actual demonstrations of exorcisms and occult practices” on TV.

A Channel 4 insider told the newspaper: “The aim is to stage an exorcism for television to test the science involved.

“It would involve the church and leading scientists and we’d monitor precisely what happens.”

Sky is also planning its own show, When Exorcisms Go Wrong, using home video footage.

But Church of England bishop, Dominic Walker, warned against such programmes.

“People who need this sort of help are nearly always psychologically vulnerable people,” he said.

“Such an experiment could be very dangerous.”

A BBC spoof on ghosts screened 13 years ago was blamed for the suicide of a Nottingham teenager.

“This sounds very dangerous and will cause considerable unease,” said John Beyer of the watchdog Mediawatch.

“People in broadcasting never learn anything – they don’t consider how it will affect the audience. This is not only ill-advised, it could be harmful.”

However, a spokesman for Sky defended the idea, saying: “It is intended to be a thought-provoking exploration of a controversial subject.”

A live seance on Channel 4 last year caused 700 complaints.

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(Listed if other than Religion News Blog), UK
Jan. 4, 2005

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