CTA's latest production is a 75 minute drama documentary on the life of Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the Victorian era's most famous preacher. You may ask, why is CTA making a programme about a man long dead? The answer is because his story is bang up to date and highly relevant for the 21st century. He was young, he became a celebrity, he was both vilified and adored by the media, he knew romance, and he knew personal suffering and tragedy. And he made a stand against the liberal thinking of the time when Darwin and evolution were as hotly debated as they are today. He preached a message of reliance on the Bible and faith in the One it is all about, when others in the church were giving way to 'higher criticism' and losing their faith. Sound familiar?
The challenge facing the writer and director Crawford Telfer, was to recreate the Victorian era and somehow capture the feel of the huge crowds that came to hear Spurgeon preach. We had two Spurgeon's – Christopher Hawes as the younger, and Steven Daltry as the older – both played their parts convincingly and powerfully, as did Sarah Mardel, as Susannah Spurgeon. A team of superb hair and make-up artists and costumes designers, and dedicated 'props' finders and 19th century locations give the film a truly period feel.
The challenge facing Executive Producer Malcolm Turner was to raise the considerable budget required to make the programme. With God's help this was achieved, and CTA is thrilled with the thought that our biggest ever production has been made during a time of economic hardship and recession. It is a co-production with ERF in Germany, Vision Video in the USA and CWR in the UK. It is also CTA's first 'High Definition' production which means it can be shown in cinemas which have digital video projection.
Andy Harrison presents the documentary segments which were filmed in France, Germany, Scotland and England.
'Charles Haddon Spurgeon – the People's Preacher' is due for release in February 2010.