*** DEBUG END ***

TV review: Ride upon the Storm, and Steph and Dom: Can cannabis save our son?

08 February 2019


THE cat is now firmly out of the bag. In Channel 4’s new Sunday-night drama series Ride upon the Storm, all can now see what clerical family life is really like. As the clergy in question are Danish, there are one or two minor points of difference from us which you might think it worth pointing out — possibly from the pulpit.

At the heart of the show is Johannes Krogh (played by Lars Mikkelsen), the patriarch of a family that has provided priests for the National Church for 250 years. As the first episode unfolds, he is about to be the first of them to be elected Bishop. In contrast with England, this is a public process: rival can­didates are quizzed in open meeting. He sails through the first heat with a charismatic defence of Christianity — but, in the final round, a question about Islam triggers an ill-considered rant that reveals a range of phobias, and the mitre goes to his opponent, a wo­­man.

Krogh responds to this defeat, as we all would, by going on a three-day drunken binge and having sex with an old flame against her garage wall. Perhaps, just for once, the Holy Spirit guided the electors.

His children exhibit biblical con­trasts of character and destiny. The Good Son, a rising light in the Church, turns down a job in the cathedral and is deployed as an army chaplain. In this he shows an extraordinary lack of preparation, taking up arms in battle and killing an innocent woman. The Bad Son flunks out of theological college, cheats at university, is chucked out of the co­pany he has founded with his closest friend, and compensates by having sex with his friend’s partner.

This carnal irresistibility is — speaking from personal experience — another contrast between our two denominations. But the biggest dif­ference is, of course, cash. In con­­trast with our own impoverished life­­style, we witness a gracious, lux­­urious manse. The ruthless cost-cutting new bishop demands sav­ings. Seeing the team of a smallish parish admit that it is, perhaps, hard to justify their second full-time pro­fessional organist will elicit hollow laughter up and down our dioceses.

This drama raises far too many issues; it is too rich a stew of current concerns and fashionable personal shortcomings. But faith and religion are presented as something real and important, and the Church’s min­istry as a serious matter.

Steph and Dom: Can cannabis save our son? (Channel 4, Monday of last week) was the more powerful because its presenters had built a TV career on being easygoing and lighthearted: here, they spoke of their love and care for their son, Max, who suffers from severe autism and life-threatening epilepsy. They have sought every cure and allevi­ation for his condition — might medicinal cannabis help him? The programme ended curiously inconclusively: the drug is now legal, but none is available.

Church Times Bookshop

Save money on books reviewed or featured in the Church Times. To get your reader discount:

> Click on the “Church Times Bookshop” link at the end of the review.

> Call 0845 017 6965 (Mon-Fri, 9.30am-5pm).

The reader discount is valid for two months after the review publication date. E&OE

Forthcoming Events

6-7 September 2022
Preaching as Pilgrimage conference
From the College of Preachers.

27-28 September 2022
humbler church Bigger God conference
The HeartEdge Conference in Manchester includes the Theology Slam Live Final.

More events

The Church Times Archive

Read reports from issues stretching back to 1863, search for your parish or see if any of the clergy you know get a mention.

FREE for Church Times subscribers.

Explore the archive

Welcome to the Church Times

​To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four* articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)

*Until the end of June: we’re doubling the number of free articles to eight, to celebrate the publication of our Platinum Jubilee double issue.