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The Passion writer Deasy defends his “soft spot” for Judas

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Award-winning writer Frank Deasy has hit back at critics who claim his new BBC1 drama The Passion rewrites the Gospels by appearing to exonerate Judas.

Deasy, who last year won an Emmy for his script Prime Suspect – The Final Act, said he “took issue” with the fact some religious groups have criticised him for showing Judas in a sympathetic light and as a man torn between his loyalty to the High Priest Caiaphas and Jesus.

The writer told The Stage the Gospels did not provide any reasons why Judas would betray Jesus and added he had only wanted to suggest possible motivations for Judas’ actions.

He admitted he had always had a “soft spot” for Judas but added: “This is a piece of drama and it is a new telling which throws a different light on aspects of the story. It is not a question of being right or wrong, nor is it a theological or academic treatise on the Gospels. Human truths are different to ideological truths and by approaching this from a human point of view, I think it genuinely dramatises questions. It is my job to dramatise and humanise these questions and not my job to answer them.”

Last week, Stephen Green, national director of the lobby group Christian Voice, said “whatever pressure” Judas was under, he still “sent an innocent man to his death”.

But Deasy said people should “reach their own conclusions” after watching the drama and added that the piece was “open to discussions”.

Speaking to The Stage, Deasy also said he felt too many writers today are “lazy”.

He said: “Too many writers try and second guess the audiences and the market. Writers need to write about things they feel passionately about, stories they really want to tell and I don’t think there is enough of that. I don’t know why that is, it’s beyond me.”

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