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Confusion as funeral hearse is towed from Shoreditch Church

PUBLISHED: 15:00 09 February 2010 | UPDATED: 15:35 05 October 2010

photo

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Carmen Valino

PASSERS-BY were in shock at the site of a coffin being carried out of the church to a waiting hearse that was being towed away. The furious onlookers were powerless to intervene as the vicar tried to reason with the motley tow crew, with police standing nearby

ABOVE: The scene greeting shocked onlookers outside Shoreditch Church as the pallbearers are left stranded when their hearse is towed away...

But look again (below)... what’s that camera crew doing there?

By Mike Brooke

Pictures: Carmen Valino

PASSERS-BY were in shock at the site of a coffin being carried out of the church to a waiting hearse that was being towed away.

The furious onlookers were powerless to intervene as the vicar tried to reason with the motley tow crew, with police standing nearby.

The fury over what was going on outside London’s historic Shoreditch Church led to calls to the East London Advertiser and even a flood of messages to the Twitter social network, with scores of tweets’ expressing moral outrage, disbelief and macabre humour.

Mooiedance’ tweeted: “That’s outrageous and disgusting! Some people have no shame.”

Stephen Brizell saw the funny side: “Death and taxes!” referring to the only two certainties in life.

Sean Ashcroft questioned the authenticity of the image posted on Twitter by one onlooker, suggesting it was “a photoshop job.”

But observant Cubejam’ tweeted: “There’s a boom mic above the coffin—this must have been done for a comedy sketch or something.”

Full marks Cubejam’! Look to the left of the pallbearers and see the camera crew in Shoreditch High Street come into focus.

We can reveal the dastardly deed was for a new TV sitcom to go out on BBC2 in the spring called Handle With Prayer, though we understand from the Beeb the title might change.

“Yeh, hands up, our filming turned many heads in Shoreditch High Street,” admitted red-faced publicist Ian Johnson.

“Passers-by didn’t look too pleased that a hearse was being towed in the middle of a funeral. There was genuine confusion.

“Now a whole debate has started on Twitter—we didn’t expect that.”

The six-part series is about the daily frustrations and moral conflicts of the Rev Andrew Smallbone, played by Tom Hollander, a vicar newly-promoted from a sleepy rural parish to the busy, noisy socially-divided urban world.

It is set in the East End using Shoreditch St Leonard’s Church as a film location, based on research with senior church insiders, and dripping with bang up-to-date authenticity to present a 21st century version of the TV vicar.

So what happens to the towed-away hearse and the coffin left at the church door?

The Beeb remains tight-lipped. We have to wait for the series in the spring!


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