Preston Passion - we spend a day with the TV cameras in the special 2012 Guild event
PUBLISHED: 01:36 23 April 2012 | UPDATED: 21:18 20 February 2013
A nationwide television audience enjoyed the Easter story given a modern twist in 2012 Guild year Photography by John Cocks and Bernie Blackburn
Moving and extraordinary. Words that summed up the performance by singer Jamelia but also captured the whole Preston Passion experience
The story of Christs last hours before the crucifixion was given a contemporary twist in this Good Friday event which was broadcast on BBC1.
The controversial Preston Bus Station provided the backdrop for this unusual telling of the Easter story and it finished with the stunning flourish thanks to the Birmingham-born singer who replaced former M People star Heather Small, who had to pull out with a severe respiratory infection.
The Passion was one of the high spots of the Preston Guild 2012. Stella Hall, the Guild director, described Jamelia as fantastic. She added: She just slipped into it like a glove. She was warm and infectious. When she sang Youve Got The Love everyone responded.
The Preston Passion was hosted by Fern Britton and included three short pre-recorded dramas, which were shown simultaneously on a big screen in Preston and on BBC1.
All three dramas were recently filmed in Preston and at other locations around the north-west, with inspiration drawn from the real lives of Preston residents, ancient and modern.
There were around 1,000 local people forming a crowd, which moved across the city re-creating human crosses. Dancing and brass band music also entertained the crowds. The opening scenes were sung by the award-winning University of Central Lancashire choir, which featured last year in Lancashire Life, and their voices were accompanied by sweeping images of Preston and the surrounding countryside filmed from a crane.
Stella Hall added: It was the most moving occasion I have witnessed in my professional life. You rarely experience that sense of the community coming together, of all ages and backgrounds. I dont think the people of Preston could think that something quite so extraordinary could happen in their city.
Lancashire Life will be covering events from Preston Guild during 2012.
For all the storyline clips, visit the BBC Preston Passion site here
Bernie Blackburn has an Preston Guild photo exhibition opening in June
See more of his photos here
The print version of this article appeared in the May 2012 issue of Lancashire Life
We can deliver a copy direct to your door order online here