April 02, 2005 16:56 ET

PBS to Rebroadcast Award-Winning FRONTLINE Biography "John Paul II: The Millennial Pope"

Updated Version Includes New Interviews; Airs Saturday, April 2, at 8 p.m. on PBS (Check Local Listings)

BOSTON, MA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- April 2, 2005 -- FRONTLINE marks the passing of Pope John Paul II with an updated re-issue of its award-winning biography "John Paul II: The Millennial Pope," airing Saturday, April 2, at 8 p.m. on PBS (check local listings). This sweeping two-and-one-half-hour documentary -- which was honored with a duPont Columbia Silver Baton for broadcast excellence -- tells the pope's story from his birth in 1920 and his formative days in Poland, to his ascension to the world stage as the bold and controversial leader of the Catholic Church and a significant player in world politics.

In production for more than two years, producer Helen Whitney traveled to seven countries and conducted interviews with more than 800 subjects -- from those who carefully studied and analyzed the pope to those whose lives intersected with his, including journalists, musicians, nuns, priests, rabbis, politicians, scientists, and Holocaust survivors.

"John Paul II was a man of extremes, and he provoked extreme reactions," says producer Whitney. "This film is a journey through the twentieth century to the sources of his character and his beliefs, and a journey into our passionate reaction to him. It's a journey that says as much about us as it does about him."

First broadcast in September 1999, the film is a thematic biography that examines the many facets of the pope's character: the shaping influence of his upbringing in Poland; his remarkable relationship to the Jews; his part in the fall of communism; his conflict with women; his war with modern culture; and his exhortation to faith.

In addition to the original work, "John Paul II: The Millennial Pope" includes new interviews that examine the last five years of the pope's leadership, including his very public death.

"The final legacy of this man will be the way he has died," says Monsignor Lorenzo Albacete, a professor of theology and friend of the pope. "For him I am sure this was the moment to embody everything he has said. The challenge -- human life is worthwhile -- no matter what, no matter how weak, no matter how insignificant it may look like. To challenge the world which is obsessed with image, with youth, with success, with power, with words."

Producer Helen Whitney is available for interviews.

Contact Information

  • For more information, please contact:
    Chris Kelly