Network Norwich and Norfolk > Resources > Culture > Norfolk Christian directs BBC Julian documentary 

Sally-Anne Lomas
Norfolk Christian directs Julian show for BBC  

A television producer and director from Norfolk tells how her profession, passion and faith inspired the making of a documentary for BBC 4 to be aired on July 19 about the extraordinary life of Julian of Norwich and her book ‘Revelations of Divine Love’.

A new documentary 'The Search for the Lost Manuscript: Julian of Norwich' will be shown at BBC 4 on Tuesday, July 19 at 9pm.  The documentary is presented by medieval art historian Dr Janina Ramirez and follows the story and survival of Julian's manuscript ‘Revelations of Divine Love’ from the time it was written through to the present day six hundred years later.

The programme is the inspiration of local television producer and director Sally-Anne Lomas (pictured) whose interest in Julian of Norwich was sparked while studying at Norwich School of Art and Design and led to her becoming a Christian.

Sally-Anne said: “We had to illustrate a journey for a graphics project.  I had always meant to visit Julian's Cell so I thought this would be a great opportunity to make a modern day pilgrimage.  I became fascinated by Julian's writings and ideas and was influenced by them during my Fine Art degree and decided to become a Christian.  I was confirmed by Bishop Graham while I was studying.

“Many years later I am an active participant in the Burning Bush Barn contemplative arts space and in 2015 they had an exhibition – ‘Creativity and Compassion: Julian of Norwich’ in which I exhibited 'The Cloth of Kindness' (pictured right).  The exhibition was part of the Julian Week and I attended many events including a wonderful talk by Sheila Upjohn on 'The Sisters who kept Julian safe.'  The talk inspired me to think that I could make a detective story style documentary about Julian.”

The documentary which features Bishop Graham James, Dr Rowan Williams and the Sisters of Stanbrook Abbey amongst many others was filmed in April and follows the manuscript's journey from Norwich to the British Museum, into the heart of the Yorkshire Moors, across the Channel to Cambrai in Northern France, to Paris and finally to the British Library.
 
Sally-Anne who has made films for ITV, Channel 4 and Discovery Channel said: “I approached local production company Tincan Island with the idea of a Julian documentary and they were enthusiatic.  Joining forces with Mustard TV we pitched the idea to BBC 4 and amazingly they commissioned the programme.”

“My hope was to make an entertaining documentary that would introduce Julian's writing to a wider audience. A great many people gave us their time and wisdom and it was very much a team effort - a perfect example of how many talents working together can achieve something wonderful.

“I am very proud of the film and the BBC say they are delighted. I just hope and pray that the viewers think so too.”

Sally-Anne said: “I am very grateful to the community at the Burning Bush Barn for their support throughout this rather challenging project. I am again confirmed in my belief that creativity and spirituality are closely linked.  This is the first time in my television career that I've been able to make a film on a subject that means so much to me personally and that I am passionately interested in and I am immensely grateful for the opportunity.”


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