9 March 2010

Our Man in the Vatican

Did you manage to catch the BBC Northern Ireland series, Our Man in the Vatican? It was a profile of Francis Campbell. I first picked up the series via Fr Tim on the Hermeneutic of Continuity blog. Mr Campbell is the first Catholic to hold the post of Ambassador to the Holy See in almost a century. On my BBCiplayer link I couldn't get the first episode to load, but you can get part two, here, and part three, here. You may be luckier thank I and get episode one to work, here. I think the series is only available until the 10th March. Very enjoyable and a pleasure to watch. Francis is an inspiring representative of the UK and will no doubt have been very busy setting the scene for the forthcoming Papal visit to the UK.

The Ulsternet news-site has the following to say:

A Rathfriland native, Francis Campbell holds a high profile position as British Ambassador to the Holy See.
A new series on BBC Northern Ireland follows Francis, gaining an exclusive insight into the life of the senior diplomat.
‘Our Man in the Vatican' will air next Wednesday 17 February at 10.45pm on BBC One.
In 2005, Francis Campbell, who was born and raised on a farm outside Rathfriland, was the first Catholic since the Reformation to be appointed to the post of British Ambassador to the Holy See in Rome.
This new three-part series follows him over a year, both on duty and on rare occasions off duty, offering viewers a fascinating view of life as an Ambassador in one of the UK's oldest and smallest embassies, as he and his team of three staff co-ordinate visits to Rome to meet the Pope by among others Prime Minister, Gordon Brown and The Prince Of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall.
Cameras also follow the Ambassador as he travels home to Northern Ireland to visit his old school, St Colman's College, Newry, and to England and Scotland.
The series also includes an interview with former Prime Minister Tony Blair, who talks about his former private secretary and policy adviser's appointment to the post of ambassador.
The BBC's Rome correspondent David Willey tells the programme: "I've known about four British ambassadors to the Holy See and it's absolutely clear to me that Francis Campbell is by far the best. He has succeeded in operating with a very small staff, and making Britain's presence felt inside the Vatican. He's a very clever man. It's a very tricky business trying to mix religion and politics and he has succeeded very well - the Vatican has confidence in him as a representative of the British Government."
Viewers will see Ambassador Campbell meet with Pope Benedict and his officials within the Vatican and cameras accompany him as he walks through the corridors of the world famous and powerful state.
Stephen Douds Series Producer said: "This series is public service broadcasting at its best. It opens up to our audiences a key, if often overlooked, aspect of the UK's foreign policy, taking our cameras and viewers into a world they would not normally access. Telling the story of Francis Campbell and the work his embassy does has been a career highlight."



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