Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 December 2014

Roma shows that God and Mammon mix

Lady In Red: Roma Downey
Lady In Red: Roma Downey
By Roma Downey

The message from the local top 20 in the annual Sunday Times Rich List would appear to be that if you want to make a mint you should think of getting into pharmaceuticals, food, property – or God.

Topping the list is Lord Ballyedmond (£860m), boss of Norbrook the veterinary drug firm.

At number three in the gilded ranks is property and investment giant, Danny Hill.

But interestingly (jointly) at number two in the list is Derry actress, the beautiful Roma Downey and her husband Mark Burnett.

Burnett has produced a number of highly successful reality TV shows in the US. And he and his wife are also behind The Bible, the highly successful mini-series that's been regarded as the salvation of the History Channel in the US, such has been its spectacular ratings.

Downey herself stars as Mary, the mother of Jesus, in a show which has been panned for its mainly white European/American cast.

Some controversy was also sparked recently by the appearance of the actor playing Satan. He was, disconcertingly, a ringer for President Obama.

Ms Downey and Mr Burnett have pointed out this was entirely coincidental.

The Bible project is very obviously not simply a money-spinner for the pair – but something very close to their hearts. They are on record as referring to it as their "calling".

But don't be surprised if, in the cut-throat world of television, there may be a few less devoted converts who, having noted this biblical success, may now be tempted to emulate a ratings miracle of their own.

The first commandment in the gospel according to TV?

Consider the profits ... .

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