ContentsNewsnight often presented by Kirsty Wark). This original version relied on Mark's ability to do passable impersonations of two legendary BBC political news staff - John Cole and Peter Snow. Though John Cole had just retired from the position of Political Editor and was presenting other programmes (like the Holiday programme - hence his strange intro). This sketch was very topical at the time - we were doing a series on Kings and Chronicles in our Family Services - but as it was election time in the UK at the time the series was called "Who would you vote for?". We'll leave you to guess who Tony Shalom was based on! This sketch is built around the events in 2 Chronicles 24.
Note that when we performed it Jane played Kirsty and Mark played all the other characters - obviously it would be better suited to 5 separate actors!
Kirsty: Hello. Good evening and welcome to Newsnight. Tonight the news which has rocked Judah is the death of the king’s Prime Minister Jehoiada. The elder statesman passed away peacefully in his sleep last night and the grand old age of 130. However, the vacuum he has left behind could be described as anything but peaceful as rival politicians vie for the king’s attention. The city is alight with speculation as to who will replace the great Jehoiada as Prime Minister. For the background we go live to John Charcoal, somewhere in Jerusalem. John can you hear me?
John: Yes indeed Kirsty. The weather here is lovely and I am particularly impressed by the warmth of the local welcome. The hotel is clean with plenty of facilities. Although the nightlife is a bit racy for me, I have thoroughly enjoyed the walks in the cities parks and the spectacular views of the refurbished Temple....
Kirsty: [interrupting] I’m sorry John. I thought you were going to tell us about Jehoiada.
John: What? I thought this was the "Holiday" programme.
Kirsty: No. This is Newsnight John.
John: I'm sorry. Yes, of course – Jehoiada. Its a while since I've done this political stuff. Well Jehoiada was a great leader. He hid the future king in the Temple for six years to preserve his life when other royals were being assassinated. Jehoiada has been Prime Minister to the young king Joash since the king came to power at the tender age of seven. Jehoiada has guided and nurtured Joash – teaching him the ways of God and advising him wisely. During Jehoiada's premiership king Joash decided to rebuild the Temple, and by re-instituting the Temple Tax was able to rebuild the Temple which you can see in all its glory behind me. Jehoiada was a great statesman who will be sadly missed – especially I suspect by King Joash. Kirsty.
Kirsty: Thank you John. Well just who is going to take over from Jehoiada and what will that mean for us. I have with me in the studio one of the prime contenders for the post of Prime Minister the present Minister for Justice, John Blusteriah. Minister, what would you bring to the job of Prime Minister?
Blusteriah: Well, obviously Jehoiada is a great loss to a great king. And I couldn’t hope to replace him. But I feel we can build on what Jehoiada has done. And move on.
Kirsty: How do you mean?
Blusteriah: Judah is booming! But the current restrictions imposed by government are holding us back in trading with our neighbouring countries. We need to deregulate. I promise to cut the Temple Tax. That money should go to private enterprise not be bound up in public bureaucracy.
Kirsty: Might that mean that people stop seeing the Temple as a focal point, maybe even turn to other gods. Might we not see the privatising of religion?
Blusteriah: Well I think the question we need to ask is are we getting value for money. If we aren’t getting value for money for worshipping The Living God then I see no reason not to contract out to some of the lesser gods of the surrounding nations.
Kirsty: I see. Thank you. Next we have Tony Shalom who is also running for Prime Minister. Tony -
Tony: [huge smile]. Hello. I’m Tony. I’m New Improved New Tony!
Kirsty: Yes. But what would you do as Prime Minister?
Tony: Well I want a new Joash, new Judah. We want everything to be exactly the same as before but with new in front of it. New taxes, new temples new gods. Yes everything new and improved – new!
Kirsty: Two contrasting views there, I think. But what will all this mean in real terms, what will the shape of the new government be? Peter Snow...
Peter: Right, so there we have it. The old has gone in comes the new. So Jehoiada was big on worshipping the Living God but the polls indicate a big swing. A big swing on my big swingy-thingy from worshipping God to worshipping idols. Could mean a big change in the future! So, overall, the shape of the government will be wibbly-wobbly blancmange shaped. Back to you, Kirsty.
Kirsty: That’s all we have time for tonight. Good night.
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