The BBC, increasingly jittery about causing offence to anyone, has shelved plans to show a ballet which features a hunchbacked pope with a penchant for raping nuns and eunuchs.
The tribute to Diaghilev is in four parts, and it is part 4 by Javier de Frutos, entitled Eternal Damnation To Sancho And Sanchez, which gave the beeb the heebie-jeebies. Apparently, they thought it might offend.
When we announced we were showing it, at the time we weren’t fully aware of the details of the ballet and had every intention of showing all four acts.
We’re not able to show it after before the watershed because the scenes in this work are particularly strong. Even in a post-watershed slot it would not be possible to show the work in its entirety. As is often the case with performance pieces the programme was commissioned before the final details of the work were established.
While it is plausible that the corporation feared an orchestrated Jerry Springer: The Opera style outrage campaign from angry Catholics, one should not rule out the possibility that they decided to cancel the show because it was crap.