An advert featuring a Nativity scene with Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus has been banned by cinema chiefs for being too "religious". The advert shows a young mother and father huddled over their baby in a basket as a reverse time-lapse is used to strip away the material belongings and transport the viewer back in time to a stable in Bethlehem. No words are spoken in the video and it ends with the message: "Christmas starts with the power of love".
The 45-second clip was funded and produced by a group of Christian charities and churches as part of the Christmas Starts with Christ Campaign. They had tried to book space from Digital Cinema Media (DCM), which manages adverts for leading theatres, Odeon, Vue and Cineworld, only to fall foul of the body's ban on screening commercials deemed "political or religious".
"We have unanimously decided at our weekly committee meeting not to approve the advertisement," the campaign group was told by DCM. The short video has been viewed more than 215,000 times on YouTube.