Footage of THE POPE being confronted by celebrities such as Brendan Cole (!?) to be aired in shocking new BBC doc
London X has the exclusive on one of the most unexpected TV moments of the year, with chats from Stephen K Amos and ex Strictly star Brendan about the heated debate
The Pope will be seen being confronted by celebrities including Brendan Cole from Strictly and comedian Stephen K Amos in a jaw-dropping new BBC documentary.
Stars of Pilgrimage: Road to Rome have revealed they felt conflicted about being granted a rare audience with the head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, for the show’s second series, so decided as a group – which also included actors Lesley Joseph, 73, and Les Dennis, 65, – that they’d only participate if they could challenge His Holiness regarding issues they had with the religion.
In shocking scenes, viewers will see the moment that Brendan, 42, and Stephen, 51, take on The Pope, 82, in Vatican City.
View this post on Instagram
21 on stage musicians and dancers #BrendanCole #AllNightLong Touring Now! Http://brendancolelive.com for all ticket info! #dance #danceshow #strictly #Theatre #strictlycomedancing #watford #kingslynn #basingstoke #swansea #dundee #sunderland #bradford #carlisle #aylesbury
But to their surprise, the Pope’s response leaves them all in tears.
Speaking ahead of the BBC2 documentary – set to air later this year – Stephen told London X: “Initially I said no because I have been very critical of certain aspects the Roman Catholic church so I didn’t really want to be seen to be taken a blessing, or be sycophantic.
“So my initial reaction was – I don’t want to do it. But then I thought, wow, what an opportunity. So, I thought, if there’s a possibility that we can ask questions, would that be OK? And producers asked and they came back and said yes. So, it had to be done.”
But when the gay star confronted Pope Francis about the controversial issues – which he didn’t want to spoil ahead of the show, but insiders believe were regarding the Catholic church’s views on homosexuality – he was “floored” by the answer he received.
Stephen explained: “Along the journey we did meet some devout Catholics and I asked a couple of posing questions to these people, and I got what I considered to be what I considered quite a stock response of: ‘Only God can judge…’
“That’s the kind of response I was expecting from the Pope when I was going to ask my question. And his response, absolutely, 100 per cent, floored me. It really opened my eyes as to how I shouldn’t myself be too judgmental on somebody on what I believe their response is, or what their ideology will be, until I speak to them face to face. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room.”
Had the comedian had the ‘stock response’ he expected, Stephen said he “may well have sparked a diplomatic incident” by “walking out,” but instead it gave him “a new-found faith in humanity.”
Former Strictly professional dancer Brendan, similarly, was gobsmacked, and admitted he was nervous before the meeting.
“I was shitting myself,” he said. “I went into panic mode and my heart starting beating out of my chest, and the legs started going. The last thing any of us wanted to do at that point, and we discussed it at length, before we did it – was be aggressive or disrespectful to the situation. We’re all going, essentially, to the Pope’s home, and you can’t really walk into someone’s home and start being disrespectful. But at the same time we couldn’t lose the opportunity to have a moment.”
And it ended up having a profound effect on the New Zealand-born dancer.
“It was actually one of the most phenomenal opportunities, to meet, essentially, probably the most powerful person on the planet, if not one of.
“The opportunity to speak to him quite freely was quite a scary thing to do. And several of us got to ask fairly direct questions about certain things that were not to be asked on the day, and the outcome was ridiculously surprising.
“Maybe we’re not going to change the Catholic church or anything… but I think from then point of view of especially Stephen and myself, to walk in there and not feel particularly comfortable with the situation… because it felt a bit hypocritical to give a platform to the Catholic church which probably does quite a lot of damage in some areas.
“But there was an opportunity express a thought I had, to the Pope, and the outcome was actually quite surprising. It was a very powerful moment.”
Brendan added: “He’s got a warmth that you don’t really expect.”
Pilgrimage: The Road to Rome is a three-part series following eight celebrities which different religious backgrounds, also including Olympic long jump hero Greg Rutherford, comedian Katy Brand, TV’s Mehreen Baig and ex-Eurovision winner Dana – as they trek 620 miles in 15 days from the Alps to Vatican in search of a spiritual awakening.