First UK Transmission – July 14th 2008

Reviews and Previews

"There are at least 14 brilliant programmes tucked inside this scrupulously fair-minded, definitive, magisterial programme …You could read about 80 books on the history of the Qur’an .. and learn less than in this documentary by Antony Thomas. Placidly, logically, he tells the story of love gone sour: Love for humanity, as originally enshrined; and love for other religions … Thomas tells this story with consummate grace and understanding … Please set this Monday night aside, and learn it all, and think, and rejoice, and weep, and think again."
Pick of the Day, The Times

"Thomas made me glad to be a Muslim, and will others I hope. For that, our undying thanks."
Yasmin-Alibhai Brown, Radio Times

"Well done, Channel 4, for showing realities of Islam that too seldom see the light of day … Channel 4’s documentary, The Qur’an, .. is head and shoulders above anything I have seen on television about Islam … It oozes love, both for the craft of film making and the subject of the film."
Ziauddin Sardar, The Guardian

"The programme of the week was without a doubt, Channel 4’s The Qur’an, an engrossing two-hour documentary … The information rolls out, coherently, intelligently, simply … Writer/director Antony Thomas made no appearance … He never even used the first person, yet his good judgement and passionate interest were clearly the guiding forces at work in the programme. Now that’s what I call authorship."
Hermione Eyre, Sunday Independent

"The one programme that we really needed to see this week was The Qur’an. For the first time ever, somebody has, in a popular medium, explained the holy text of Islam and why it is open to such conflicting interpretations. We cannot fathom the world in which we live without the proper understanding that this excellent programme offered."
Stephen Pile, Sunday Telegraph

"Five stars. Such was the clarity and intelligence of Antony Thomas’s exegesis that it left me wanting more … Thomas’s achievement was far greater than scholarly mastering of the facts. He leapt with deceptive ease from the specific to the sweeping, using the Qur’an as a jumping off point to explore every corner of the Islamic world; its singular history and dazzling cultural achievements; its internal ideological schisms and it’s contrasting attitudes to justice, women and the West … Television reviewers tend to toss superlatives about carelessly … In the case of The Qur’an, however, I think ‘magisterial’ genuinely applies."
Andrew Pettie, Sunday Telegraph

"Antony Thomas’s thoughtful, intelligent documentary is exactly what most of us need. He asks all the right questions, both about the Qur’an’s history, and about what it says."
Sam Wollaston, The Guardian

"Five Stars … Fascinating documentary … If ever the claim that the pen is mightier than the sword was proven, it was proved by this meticulously assembled film … The film explained with rare clarity .. the doctrinal differences between Shias and Sunnis and also between mainstream Sunnis. In a brilliant .. conclusion Thomas came to praise not the bury the Qur’an.."
Andrew Billen, The Times

"Star programme of the week was The Qur’an. Scrupulous, sympathetic and patiently didactic, it did the task for which Channel 4 was conceived: to enlighten through narrative."
John Lloyd, Financial Times

"The Qur’an was an exemplary piece of programme making … This was proper television for grown-ups … Thomas made sure that the benevolent face of Islam, all too often overlooked in the West, got a fair showing."
Brian Viner, The Independent

"A fair and fascinating film … There have been scores of post-9/11 documentaries, attempting to understand the fundamentalist Muslim mindset … In the hands of the journalist Antony Thomas, this might be singly the most illuminating documentary of the lot."
Gerald Gilbert, The Independent

"The considerable achievement of this feature-length documentary is to explain why the text is subject to such varying interpretations."
David Chater, The Times

"This exhaustively researched film talks to the full spectrum of moderates, dissenters and extremists as it attempts to make sense of the wildly divergent interpretations of the same words..."
Phil Harrison, Time Out

"Highlight of a week of Channel 4 programmes exploring Islam … A fascinating exploration of a vast, paradoxical subject."
Critics’ Choice, Daily Mail

"Tonight’s highlight is Antony Thomas’s magisterial documentary The Qur’an."
Pick of the Day. Sunday Telegraph

"A highlight of a week of Channel 4 programmes exploring Islam."
Pick of the Day. Daily Mail