The Passion is a television drama serial produced by the BBC and HBO Films in association with Deep Indigo Productions. It tells the story of the last week in the life of Jesus. The serial was first proposed by Peter Fincham in 2006, on the success of the contemporary-set Manchester Passion. Writer Frank Deasy and producer Nigel Stafford-Clark were inspired to make a drama that opened up the story beyond the "vacuum" it is often told in. They did this by expanding the roles of Pontius Pilate and Caiaphas, and exploring the politics of Judea at the time. Deasy and Stafford-Clark were aided by scholar Mark Goodacre, with whom they put together an extensive research manual about the topic. The part of Jesus is played by Joseph Mawle, who researched the role by reading the Gospels and research papers. Other main roles were played by Paloma Baeza, Ben Daniels, James Nesbitt, David Oyelowo, and Penelope Wilton. It was directed by Michael Offer on location in Morocco from 27 August to 23 October 2007, and broadcast on BBC One in four parts from 16 to 23 March 2008. Its viewing figures ranged from 3.2 million to 4.9 million people, and it received generally positive critical reception.
It's Passover in Jerusalem, and the city is bursting with pilgrims. It's a tense time for those charged with keeping order - like Pilate the Roman Prefect and Caiaphas the High Priest. The arrival of a preacher from Galilee called Jesus causes great excitement when he enters through the East Gate on a donkey's colt, fulfilling prophecies of the coming of the Messiah. For Jesus's band of disciples, hardened by several years on the road, this is the moment they've been waiting for, but none of them suspects how momentous this week will be.
Caiaphas is growing increasingly anxious that Jesus's preaching will provoke unrest and bring in the Romans, and when Jesus appears to threaten the Temple it's the final straw. As Jesus tries to explain his destiny to the disciples, Caiaphas calls a council and presents it with a stark choice. With Passover approaching, a fateful decision is taken, and Judas finds himself placed in an impossible position.
Jesus shares his Last Supper with the disciples, and teaches them their last and most important lesson. Whilst Judas slips away to fetch the Temple guards, Jesus leads the disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane and tries to prepare himself for what is to come. The next few hours will bring him face to face with Caiaphas, with Pilate and with his own destiny.
As Jesus is taken from the cross and buried, his disciples cower in hiding. Caiaphas, fearful that the body will be stolen, orders the tomb to be guarded. But when Mary Magdalene discovers it empty, a chain of events is about to begin that will transform the lives of the disciples and reverberate throughout the world for the next two thousand years.