BBC One's Great North Passion will be "event television at its best"

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The BBC has announced that this year's contemporary retelling of the Easter story will be broadcast live from the North East.

The Great North Passion will be televised for BBC One live from South Shields on Good Friday, April 18.

It follows similar performances in Manchester, Liverpool and Preston in 2006, 2007 and 2012 respectively.

A scene from Preston's Passion in 2012 A scene from Preston's Passion in 2012

Prior to the event, communities around the North East will be given shipping containers with an associated artists to transform from a "giant steel box into a work of art".

The containers with then form the shape of a crucifix in Bents Park for a free one-hour live performance of the story of Christ's trial and death.

Head of BBC Religion and Ethics, Aaqil Ahmed, said: “The Great North Passion shows exactly how committed the BBC is to making accessible and ground-breaking religious programming and we're delighted that this year's broadcast will be coming from the North East.

"This is event television at its best, working with local partners, community groups, artists, performers and the wider BBC to deliver a programme that not only marks Easter significantly, but also for as wide an audience as possible."

The Great North Passion is in partnership with The Cultural Spring, a £2m Arts Council project aimed at increasing engagement with the arts in 10 wards in Sunderland and South Tyneside.

Graeme Thompson, chairman of The Cultural Spring, said: “We look forward to working with BBC colleagues to create a most memorable Easter spectacle and we hope the interest and momentum created by the Passion will continue throughout the Cultural Spring’s three years."

The Great North Passion is a BBC Religion and Ethics commission for BBC One. The commissioner and co-executive producer with Mike Smith is BBC head of religion and ethics, Aaqil Ahmed.