ACTION TV ONLINE EPISODE GUIDE
hindsight The Second Coming has taken on the mantle of being something
of a rehearsal for the succesful relaunch of Doctor Who in 2005. After
all it had not only the same writer, Russell T Davies, but also lead
actor, Christoper Eccleston, playing an equally unearthly character
(the Son of God no less), and there is something in Eccleston's performance
that resonates with his incarnation of the Timelord. But the series
also stands tall on its own merits tackling some difficult issues in
a bold manner and when you consider this production was commissioned
by the home of cosy drama (ITV) then you have to admire their taking
a big chance to produce and screen such a potentially provocative programme.
The world's media kicks into a frenzy. Steve has a simple purpose - Mankind must produce a Third Testament or face Judgement Day, in five days time. Fear, cynicism and violence erupt and worldwide pandemonium ensues. But if God is real then so is the Devil. Can the Third Testament be found in time? Can the Son of God save the human race?"
actors Eccleston and Lesley Sharp are, to coin a later Eccleston catchphrase,
fantastic! Support roles are equally well essayed with plaudits to Mark
Benton in an against type role as the malevolent Johnny Tyler (a surname
Davies has used many times in the past and would recycle once more for
the Tenth Doctor's assistant), Rory Kinnear (son of Roy) as Father Dillane
and perhaps a career best performance by Peter Armitage as the tormented
Frank Baxter, the earthly father of the Son of God. Director Adrian
Shergold, a veteran of such series as An Inspector Morse, Micawber and
A Touch Of Frost, handles the production well with a glossless and and
underplayed tone which gives the story a realism and ordinariness that
counterpoints the hign concepts ideas.
The programme was written by Russell T Davies, produced by Ann Harrison- Baxter and directed by Adrian Shergold. Music was composed by Murray Gold.
Text © Andrew Screen, 2004.
TX : 9th February 2003
Publicity : Listen carefully and yuo can hear the sound of drawbridges being raised and hatches being battened down as ITV prepares itself for waves of flak from infuriated viewer, enraged at the central premise of this two-part drama from Russell T Davies (creator of Queer As Folk), which concludes tomorrow.
Christopher Eccleston is Steven Baxter, a video-shop worker from Salford who claims to be the Son of God. Initially at least, Steve is dismissed as a madman after he spends 40 days and nights on Saddleworth Moor, and is hospitalised. But as Steve lies in his hospital bed, with a beatific smile on his face, the Pope dies. A nervous Vatican sends an emissary to familiarise himself with Steve's background, and to report back.
Meanwhile Steve's tightly knit group of friends, who have known him since scholldays, are forced to confront the fact that Steve might actually be who he claims to be. Only one, Judith (Lesley Sharp), is highly sceptical.
But Steve is a compelling presence and a spellbinding orator. After an apparent miracle, the world - via all-powerful television - gets to hear his message, prompting some dark forces to marshal themselves in an effort to stop what looks as if it could be an unstoppable progress.
is a dense and frequently difficult drama, but the real power of The Second
Coming lies in its presentation of a fractured world, and a populace desperate
for any message of hope for the future. It is also hard to shake off,
and may leave you with the sort of nameless unease that is the aftermath
of a disturing dream. (Radio Times article by Alison Graham, February
Publicity : Part two of this disturbing, but bold and imaginative, drama sees Steve Baxter (Christopher Eccleston) the self-professed Son of God, at the centre of world attention. Manchester is being described as "the new Mecca" as thousands of followers descend on it to await the publication of the Third Testament. Steve is holed up in a police station for his own protection, and the handful of friends he feels he can trust - including Judith (Lesley Sharp) - eventually joins him.
The world, it seems, has gone mad, with frenzied mobs baying for answers. Steve seems as baffled as everyone else, until he makes a powerful realisation that, when released to the world, galvanises those who believe in him - and those who wish him great harm.
The Second Coming will doubtless sharply divide viewers into those who think it's pretentious nonsense and those who see it as thoroughly innovative, particularly for a mainstream channel. To the more disinterested observer, it contains strong elements of both viewpoints - sometimes The Second Coming seems in love with its own daring. But the fact remains that, in a television drama landscape dominated by formulaic cop shows, this is something very different indeed. (Radio Times article by Alison Graham, February 10th, 2003).
Synopsis : As panic and violence take hold, Judith alone holds the key to salvation.
Notes : The episode was originally transmitted 9:00pm to 10:30pm on ITV 1.