Miracle on Merseyside - Liverpool remakes the nativity The Virgin Mary comes from Knotty Ash, one of the angels used to be in Brookside, and Herod is a woman. This version of the Christmas story, to be played out on the streets in the centre of Liverpool and broadcast live on BBC3 tomorrow night, has a cast of 300, including the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, a technical crew of 150 and is produced by the BBC team responsible for last yearâs Manchester Passion. ... After discussions with the Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Rev James Jones, the scriptâs writer Mark Davies Markham has modernised the traditional story. Mary, lacking both the traditional blue robe and halo, wipes tables in a Seaforth cafe. Joseph is an asylum seeker commanded to go to Liverpool to renew his visa. Herod is a woman and the shepherds are both homeless and sheepless. But there will still be a star and three magi for the show. âThe traditional story is so familiar that it can just wash over you,â said Markham. âI wanted it still to be familiar but to help people look at it in a different way. If they see it in terms of hope for humanity, that would be good.â ... Mary (Jodie McNee), a virgin who has been saving herself for when the time is right, is a bit surprised but tells Joseph (Kenny Thompson) âitâs the Lordâs baby, itâs sent by the Holy Spiritâ. Joseph is unimpressed and angry. âYouâre just having a bit of a domestic,â explains director Noreen Kershaw as Joseph launches into There She Goes by The Laâs. Joseph heads across the river to the passport office. Mary follows on to the ferry and they sing Comedy from The Shackâs 1999 album HMS Fable. When Jesus is born, they duet on Beautiful Boy, written originally for the son of John Lennon rather than the Son of God. âItâs a brilliant story to tell,â said McNee, whose previous Christmas performances include a role as a turkey in a school play. âItâs about community and loving generosity and about accepting people.â The manâs a spiritual chav*. But wait ... from a blog named Stuartâs Short Trousers (with thanks to Troy Southgate for the link):- The Chav Nativity Thereâs this bird called Mary, yeah? Sheâs a virgin (wossat then?) Sheâs not married or nuffink, but sheâs got this boyfriend, Joe, innit?He does joinery anâ that. Mary lives with him in a crib dahn Nazaref. One day Mary meets this bloke Gabriel. Sheâs like âOo ya lookin at?â Gabriel just goes âYou got one up the duff, you have.â Maryâs totally gobsmacked. She gives it to him large âStop dissinâ me yeah? I ainât no Kappa-slapper. I never bin wiv no one!â So Mary goes and sees her cousin Liz, whoâs six months gone herself. Liz is larginâ it. Sheâs filled with spirits, Barcardi Breezers anâ that. Sheâs like âOrright, Mary, I can feel me bay-bee in me tummy and I reckon Iâm well blessed. Think of all the extra benefits anâ that we are gonna get.â Mary goes âYeah, sâpose youâre rightâ Mary anâ Joe ainât got no money so they have to ponse a donkey, anâ go dahn Bethlehem on that. They get to this pub anâ Mary wants to stop, yeah? To have her bay-bee anâ that. But there ainât no room at the inn, innit? So Mary anâ Joe break anâ enter into this garridge, only itâs filled wiv animals. Cahs anâ sheep anâ that. Then these three geezers turn up, looking proper bling, wiv crowns on their heads. Theyâre like âRespect, bay-bee Jesusâ, anâ say theyâre wise men from the East End. Joe goes: âIf youâre so wise, wotchoo doinâ wiv this Frankenstein anâ myrrh? Why dincha just bring gold, Adidas and Burberry?â Itâs all about to kick off when Gabriel turns up again anâ sez heâs got another message from this Lord geezer. Heâs like âThe police is comin anâ theyâre killin all the bay-bees. You better nash off to Egypt.â Joe goes âYou must be monged if you think Iâm goinâ dahn Egypt on a minging donkeyâ Gabriel sez âSuit yerself, pal. But itâs your look out if you stay.â So they go dahn Egypt till theyâve stopped killin the first-born anâ itâs safe anâthat. Then Joe and Mary and Jesus go back to Nazaref, anâ Jesus turns water into Stella. * For the blissfully unawares European/American reader, a chav is what became of the English peasantry. Thus, Mr McNeeâs modern Mary will most likely look like this:- Naturally, she wouldnât be called Mary. Diamond, perhaps, or Donna, Madison, Mcayla, Chantelle, Keeley, or the inevitable, completely sparkle-free Chardonnay. And rather than Jesus, she would call her baby son Ryan, Declen, Jay, Bex (of course), Baden or Ryder. There is, though, no question that the identity of the father would be a profound mystery.