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Taking place around the turn of the millennium, this four part series follows three entwining tales based on the Biblical story of the birth of Jesus Christ. In Nazareth, Joseph, a carpenter, courts teenager Mary. Meanwhile in Bethlehem, a shepherd called Thomas struggles under heavy taxation. And somewhere to the East, Magi gather to discuss the signs of a great event they see foretold in the stars. All their lives are brought together when Mary is visited by an angel and told she will give birth to the son of God. Written by
One of the best programmes over the festive season
Over last year's festive season, there were some gems as well as some disappointments. The Nativity was one of those unexpected gems. I say unexpected because in all honesty I was expecting it to be like our primary school nativity plays, something you like participating in and enjoy as a child, but in some ways it doesn't really appeal as an adult, especially looking back I remember the songs I had to sing which seem twee by today's standards. Though on the other hand, the holiday is not complete without the story being told in some form or other.
The Nativity wasn't anything like that. It really did appeal to me, it moved and touched me by its warmth and honesty and the end result was heart-warming and a just wonderful slice of television. Visually it is very beautiful, with great costumes and photography and the backdrops are gorgeous, and the music is very well composed and fits well. The writing is poignant and realistic, and while I wondered how they were going to fit the story over a running time such as this one they nailed it, there are many well done scenes such as when Mary is humiliated and the introduction to King Herod and the whole story is well paced, wonderfully told and satisfyingly rounded off.
The cast also do fine jobs. Andrew Buchan is excellent as Joseph, and here I was really sympathetic towards Mary and not only because of how she is treated in some scenes but also because of Tatiana Maslany's heartbreaking performance. Peter Capaldi and Art Malik are also great value, while Vincent Regan is a very effective Herod.
All in all, a wonderful series and one of the best airing over the holidays. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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