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Bible blockbuster to air on TV3 over Christmas

By Susan Gately - 22 December, 2013

‘The top selling mini-series of all time’ comes to Irish screens.

The bibleA ten-hour mini series telling the story of the Old and New Testaments airs on TV3 over Christmas.

The opening episode of The Bible began on Saturday evening and told of the early part of the history of salvation from creation to Moses.  

The mini-series was produced by the Emmy Award winning husband and wife team, Mark Burnett and Roma Downey.

In the US, it attracted 13 million viewers, and the programme has topped a million in home entertainment sales.

Co producer and actress, Roma Downey, comes from Derry.  She is best known for her role as Monica in Touched by an Angel. In the biblical series, Roma Downey plays Mary, the mother of Jesus, and stars alongside Diogo Morgado, in the role of Jesus.

Roma Downey plays Mary, the Mother of Jesus

Roma Downey plays Mary, the Mother of Jesus

The full series continues from Saturday night on Sunday 22nd December at 9pm, on Monday 23rd December 2013, on Friday 27th December 2013  and concludes on Saturday 28th December 2013 at 9pm

The Bible was shown originally on the History Channel with episode one drawing 13.1 million viewers last March, before wrapping up on Easter Sunday with 11.7 million viewers.

Such has been its success in the US, that NBC has now commissioned a further mini-series of 12 episodes AD: Beyond the Bible, which takes up the story from the passion, to the resurrection and continues on.  

It is hoped this will be ready for broadcast in the US in spring  2015.

Episode 1 of The Bible on TV3 told the story of the perfect beginnings of humanity.  However, mankind soon falters and God sends a devastating flood.

Travelling on from Noah to Abraham and his tests of faith, the descendants of Abraham form the twelve tribes of Israel and God’s chosen people begin to populate the Promised Land.  

The story moves on to the famine and the exile of the people of Israel to Egypt, where they are brutally enslaved by Pharaoh. The story moves on to Moses and his leading of the people out of exile back towards the Promised Land.

Executive producers, Mark Burnett and Roma Downey on the set of  The Bible

Executive producers, Mark Burnett and Roma Downey on the set of The Bible

“From Genesis to Revelation, stories from the bible unfold through live action and cutting-edge computer-generated imagery, offering new insight into famous scenes and iconic characters,” says Ciara Byrne from TV3. 

The announcement that NBC was picking up the follow on project of  AD: Beyond the Bible, came earlier this week.

“You might think the story is over at the Crucifixion, but as most of the world knows, that was only the beginning,” said Jennifer Salke, NBC Entertainment president.

“Everyone’s lives were completely altered in an instant and the immediate aftermath of Christ’s death had an impact on his disciples, his mother Mary, and key political and religious leaders of the time.”

According to Hollywood Reporter, since its release on DVD and Blu-ray in April, The Bible has become the “top-selling mini-series of all time” in its first week of release shipping 525,000 units.

Burnett and Downey are also working on feature film Son of God, set for release by Fox in February 2014.

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