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21 December 2013

The Bethlehem Tales

The Bethlehem Tales

Actor and stage director Sir Derek Jacobi heads the cast for Classic FM's Christmas Day Drama, The Bethlehem Tales.

Part thriller, part magical comedy, the drama tells the Christmas story, from the announcement of Jesus' birth to Mary to the Flight into Egypt, from the point of view of contemporary eye-witnesses. Interwoven with music drawn from three centuries, the family radio play offers a different perspective on the Nativity of Jesus.

The story begins at the point when political tension is building in Israel following the Roman census. A series of confused rumours about signs and forewarnings in the City of David are going around. Somewhere on the road from Bethlehem, a merchant - one of Herod's agents - stops at an isolated inn. Here a group of travellers heading towards Egypt is whiling away the evening telling stories. Each of the travellers witnessed a different part of the events surrounding the Nativity. Now, during this one night, these Bethlehem Tales try to convince Herod's informer to abandon his calling and follow a new star.

Award-winning Jacobi stars as the Merchant. The cast also features other well known actors from stage and screen including Simon Greenall, Sally Bretton, Kris Marshall, Pippa Heywood and Pip Donaghy.

Written by David Spicer and directed by Frank Stirling, The Bethlehem Tales is the third Christmas drama made by Unique for Classic FM in association with Jerusalem Productions. The same team has previously adapted Michael Morpurgo's On Angel Wings, narrated by the author, and The Christmas Mysteries, based on the Second Shepherd's Play from the Wakefield Mysteries, starring Jack Shepherd and Mark Benton.

Jerusalem Productions is a media co-production company working to increase understanding and knowledge of the Christian religion and its values, via the broadcast media, to as wide an audience as possible. The company, established in 1990, is involved in radio, television and online productions.

The Bethlehem Tales will be broadcast on Classic FM at 7pm on Christmas Day.