A new ITV show, The Synod’s Got Talent, will select the new Archbishop of Canterbury from a public vote cast by primetime TV viewers. Along with demonstrating their skills in showing how the Church of England can remain relevant in these increasingly secular times, contestants will also be judged on their talents for singing, juggling, dancing and joke-telling.
Religious commentator Robert Piggott said: ‘Up until now, it was likely to be a one-bishop race for John Sentamu, with his support for civil partnerships and women bishops. Along comes this new idea by the Crown Nominations Commission and all he’s got is this lame tap dancing routine to The Lord is My Shepherd. That’s it. Whereas the Bishop of London Richard Chartres, who takes a strong anti-gay stance and wouldn’t be seen dead within a mile of a woman bishop, is a phenomenal drummer.’
Bishop of Durham Justin Welby is also a contender. He said: ‘It’s all I’ve ever wanted for as long as I can remember. I’ve been performing as an archbishop on the club circuit for years, but always with my heart and soul fixed firmly on something like this.’ Asked what he thinks he can bring to the new role in terms of spiritual leadership in these difficult times, he said: ‘I’ve got this newspaper folding thing that produces chairs you can sit on and palm trees, and shit like that. I’m going for the complete nativity scene made out of a year’s supply of the Catholic Herald.’
Pressed on how that might connect with a society bedevilled by rampant consumerism and moral ambivalence, he said: 'We’re thinking we might go for the emotional approach, where I announce that I’ve just come from the funeral of a much loved congregation member. As it happens I do about five of those a week, but who’s to know?’
In a surprise announcement of a possible job share, Bishop of Coventry Christopher Cocksworth and Bishop of Norwich Graham James are working on a double act. ‘We’ve got as far as scantily clad nuns doing a bump and grind number to Little Donkey,’ said Cocksworth. ‘We’re hoping for some divine inspiration.’
Executive producer Simon Cowell is said to be in talks with God about becoming the much talked about fourth judge, alongside Sister Wendy, the Reverend Ian Paisley and Christian rapper Will-i-am-the-way-the-truth-and-the-life.
Bishop of Leicester Tim Stevens’ idea to throw Professor Richard Dawkins into a cage of hungry lions has been met with fierce opposition from pressure group Atheists Against Animal Cruelty.