Thousands of people have already signed a petition protesting against a new BBC satirical cartoon: Popetown, which is scheduled for screening this autumn. In the show, comedienne Ruby Wax provides the voice-over for the Pope who is depicted bouncing around on a pogo stick. In publicity for the series, Ruby Wax said: "At last I am the Pope, which is only right and good." The ten-part animation also uses the voice of Jerry Hall as a nun, Sr Penelope, and Kevin Eldon, a veteran of irreverent comedies such as Brass Eye and I'm Alan Partridge, as the central character, Father Nicholas. A BBC spokesman says the cartoon is "an office comedy that happens to be set in the Vatican." But Kathleen Goble, from the Cardinal Heenan Centre for Peace at Ilford, Essex, who launched the petition, said the programme is offensive to Catholics and insulting to the Pope. She said: "The Pope is old and frail, and he is one of the only leaders in the world who has the courage at a time like this to stand up, tell the truth and talk about peace." Mrs Goble said she thought the BBC would face an outcry if they made a similar programme about Muslims. She is now consulting lawyers about the possibility of prosecuting the BBC and/or the programme's producers, the independent company CHX Productions, under the law governing blasphemy. IF you would like to register your protest write to the Cardinal Heenan Centre for Peace, 326 High Road. Ilford Essex 1G1 1QP; or send us an e-mail at ICN and we will forward your message.
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