Italian Network to air pope cartoon scrapped by BBC

In a decision that has upset many, the Italian television network CanalJimmy has decided to air a cartoon series originally scrapped by the BBC which mocks the pope and the Vatican.

Originally called Popetown, the newly named Holy-Smoke, features a manic, juvenile pope who bounces around the Vatican on a pogo stick, back-stabbing cardinals and what the BBC called, a look “at the daily nuisances that exist in any workplace.”

The BBC initially announced the show in November of 2002, but canceled it after more than 6,000 British demanded it be pulled.

Bishop Crispian Hollis, a spokesman for the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of England and Wales told the BBC last September that, “Any attempt to belittle or diminish his status as the leader of the Catholic Church is totally unacceptable, and not only to Catholics."

CanalJimmy, whose studios are mere miles from the Vatican walls seemed unfazed by the controversy surrounding the show. A spokeswoman for the satellite channel is quoted as saying, "This is a very alternative sort of channel… In fact we hope there will be a bit of a controversy as it would bring us some attention."

Italians, 90 per cent of whom are reportedly Catholic, will be able to watch the ten-part series this spring.

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