The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Hall probes hubby on celebrity guru wave

The rise of the celebrity guru, one of the more bizarre facets of modern culture, is to be examined in a BBC documentary presented by Jerry Hall, the fashion model.

Her former husband, Mick Jagger, and actress Anjelica Houston are among those she interviews about the fascination that gurus, mystics and new age cults have held over celebrities from The Beatles to Madonna.

In the programme, Jagger, the Rolling Stones singer and notorious lothario, talks about the less well-documented spiritual side of his life.

He recalls meeting the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi — who had a profound impact on The Beatles — in 1968 at a conference in Bangor, North Wales.

Jagger also goes on to say that the Greek god he most closely resembles is Dionysus, the god of wine and fertility.

The three-part series, which will be broadcast in autumn, forms a key part of BBC3’s public service remit, which includes an obligation to broadcast 15 hours a year of programmes about “business, ethics, documentaries with a global perspective and science”.

The corporation has been widely criticised for failing to make more traditional religious programming. But Stuart Murphy, the channel’s controller, on Wednesday defended the decision to make a series about new age spirituality, saying that was what his target audience were interested in.

Other new shows on the six-month-old station include Little Britain, a television version of the offbeat Radio 4 series, starring Matt Lucas — best known for playing George Dawes in the comedy quiz Shooting Stars.

And in Fightbox, viewers have created their own computer game-style virtual warriors who will slug it out in an arena before a live audience.

However, Murphy indicated that Johnny Vaughan’s talk show may be scrapped, although a final decision had not yet been made.

The presenter, who recently signed a new one-year contract with the corporation, is working on a fresh show and its success will dictate whether he makes further chat programmes.

Murphy said: “The new show is still being developed. It’s live, where I think Johnny is strongest.

“Johnny is an incredible talent. He felt and we felt that (BBC)3 is a real opportunity to try something different, which he can’t do anywhere else.

“We might continue to do this new show instead of the chat show.”

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