A movie that caused such a controversy over alleged sacrilege that it was banned by some councils and cinemas is to be shown - at a borough church.
Monty Python’s The Life of Brian is now safely installed in the pantheon of great comedy films and remains a TV and DVD favourite to this day.
But when it hit the large screen in 1979 it divided the nation and the establishment, with some branding it an outrageous insult to Christianity.
On the other side the Pythons and their supporters pointed out that the film - which concerns a man in Biblical times who is mistaken for the Messiah - only mocked its institutions and some people’s readiness to believe anything rather than the life of Christ and the religion that he inspired.
There is now a fresh chance for the public to decide for themselves when Leigh Parish Church becomes one of the few religious buildings to screen it in an Easter collaboration with the town’s film society.
Fr Kevin Crinks from Leigh Parish Church said: “This has been in the pipeline for some time and I think in lots of ways it’s an ideal film to show.
“It’s very clever and well-written and really challenges perceptions of religion.
“The story is a simple one. The character Brian is mistakenly believed to be a Messianic figure and it’s about the consequences of that.
“The real historical character Jesus appears at the beginning and is treated very sympathetically.
“I know there are people in the past who’ve questioned whether it’s offensive or in questionable taste but I’ve never had a problem with it.
“I told some friends we were planning to show it in church and they told me they showed the film on Good Friday at their theological college and it went down a storm, and my church wardens will be sitting on the front row.
“Perhaps some of those people who got upset hadn’t seen it or didn’t get the message which is actually a very profound one.”
Organisers are planning a spectacular evening to appeal to Monty Python’s legions of dedicated fans, with devoted supporters of their work being encouraged to wear fake beards or other costumes in tribute to the film’s most famous scenes.
Leigh Film chair Paul Costello said: “There are so many comedy quotes from this film we hope to have the audience laughing out loud and shouting them out as we go long.
“We’re planning this screening to be a fully immersive community cinema event.
“The venue is perfect and for everyone attending wearing a beard there will be a surprise.”
The Life of Brian will be shown at Leigh Parish Church on Friday April 7 from 7pm. Tickets are £5.
To find out more visit www.leighfilmsociety.com