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Podcast: James Cary: The Gospel According to a Sitcom Writer

26 August 2021

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James Cary

James Cary

ON THIS week’s podcast, Ed Thornton talks to the writer and General Synod member James Cary about his new book The Gospel According to a Sitcom Writer (SPCK).

An extract from the book is published in this week’s Church Times (27 August), and the book is available to buy from the Church House Bookshop.

“The first thing you notice when you hear scripture read out loud really well by an actor, the first thing you notice is that it’s actually funny – not everywhere, but it’s usually surprising,” he says. “And if you hear large portions of it read, there will be lots of jokes, and there will be lots of what we would call in sitcoms ‘callbacks’, and moments where it’s like, ‘Ah, suddenly this is becoming clear’.

“The book is an attempt to draw out here’s how it’s funny, here’s reading between the lines, here’s some stuff that isn’t in the Bible, but might have been running through their minds as they’re experiencing this in real time during Jesus’s earthly ministry, but also in the minds of the listeners as they are hearing it and their minds are thinking possibly what might happen next.”

James’s writing credits include the BBC TV sitcoms Miranda and Bluestone 42 (Features, 1 March 2013), and the radio sitcoms Think the Unthinkable and Hut 33.

His previous books include The Sacred Art of Joking (Books, 18 January 2019) and Death by Civilisation (Books, 23 August 2013); his plays include A Turbulent Priest (Arts, 26 April 2019), A Monk’s Tale (Features, 18 August 2017), and The God Particle.

At the end of the interview, you can hear James reading from the book. The recording was originally posted on James’s YouTube channel, and is used with his kind permission.


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