A Christian activist is to bring a private prosecution against hit musical Jerry Springer - The Opera on the charge of alleged blasphemy.

Stephen Green has launched a high court attempt to overturn a January court ruling which prevented him from suing BBC director general Mark Thompson for screening the controversial show on BBC2.

Mr Green, director of Christian Voice, attempted to bring the case against Mr Thompson and the show's producer in January but was refused by the City of Westminster magistrates court.

According to Michael Gledhill, QC, appearing for Mr Green, the district judge had been mistaken in refusing the January summons as "crossed the blasphemy threshold".

He said the show was "an offensive, spiteful, systematic mockery and wilful denigration of Christian belief", and would never have been have made it to the stage or screen had it satirised Islam, rather than Christianity.

"No theatre would have produced it. Neither would the BBC have broadcast it," he said.

The broadcast of the show - which portrays Eve as a pole dancer and Adam as a Ku Klux Klan member - garnered 63,000 complaints for the BBC, though many messages of support were also received.

Human rights group Liberty has criticised Mr Green's action, labelling the blasphemy laws outdated.

"These blasphemy laws should be shelved in dusty archives, not used as a tool to bring mischievous prosecutions against the arts," Liberty's legal officer Anna Fairclough told the BBC.

21/11/2007 11:09:37