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Dec 23, 2016

The Guardian | U. K. | Media | The Sun: Gold, Frankincense and Clarkson's Merc: The Suns's Secret Nativity Play

theguardian.com

Lisa O'Carroll


It was a nativity play starring an unlikely combination of Jeremy Clarkson, David Blunkett and Lorraine Kelly that, until it was leaked to the Guardian, had not seen the light of day.

Commissioned by the Sun, the 2007 film was intended to bring festive cheer to corporate clients and senior editors’ contacts, with Clarkson and Blunkett starring as a wise man and shepherd respectively, and Kelly as the Virgin Mary.
But through what might be described as an immaculate interception, the contacts were spared by the then editor, Rebekah Brooks, who forbade the film from being sent out. It has now leaked out to the Guardian.
Kelly as the pregnant Mary is first up on the makeshift set, with Brooks’s deputy, Fergus Shanahan, making an embarrassing entry as Joseph. The former editor Kelvin MacKenzie is the ass.
Columnist Jane Moore appears next as the Angel of the Lord, cracking a few jokes with Kelly about the Child Support Agency. But it is not long before the frolicking segues into some observations about foreigners depriving Mary of a bed at the last inn in town.
“We’re completely full up, we’ve got Lithuanians, Albanians, Iranians, Iraqis, Somalians, we’ve even got the Romanians, we’ve got the Czechs we’ve got the Slovaks, and let me tell you, if it weren’t for the Poles the plumbing would have packed up days ago,” announces the columnist Jon Gaunt, who no longer has any contractual relationship with the newspaper.
At this point, Blunkett makes a bizarre appearance as a shepherd. “Go for it Sadie, follow that star,” the former home secretary says to his bemused-looking guide dog.
A shaky edit or two later, Clarkson, the former footballer Ian Wright, and Trevor Kavanagh, the former Sun political editor and Rupert Murdoch confidant, appear as the most unlikely three wise men ever cast, queuing up to make one lame joke after another. Kavanagh quips: “I won’t insult him [Jesus] with euros, I’ll take gold.”
Clarkson muses: “How are we going to get there, we can’t take a four-wheel drive car, ‘cause we’re just going to have eco-mentalists throwing eggs at us.” He will take (a) Merc while Wright will take frankincense “because it’s cheaper than Frank Lampard”.
Insiders say the video was cooked up in the newsroom “by some bright spark” as a humorous video version of the paper’s Christmas card. Another said it was part of a fundraiser for the Help for Heroes charity.
“Everyone was shot in different places. Clarkson is in his garden, while others are in studios and the idea was it could be put together for a card on Photoshop, but that doesn’t work for video; it wasn’t well thought out.”
One source said: “It was shown to about 50 people in the newsroom and everyone was standing round wetting themselves laughing, saying if this gets out the Sun will never survive. Clearly Rebekah took one look at it and agreed.”
A spokesperson for the Sun said: “We thought this had died on the cutting room floor. It was intended to raise money for Help for Heroes but was deemed too cringeworthy and was never used.”