A large cross in a church where a recent Coronation Street wedding scene was filmed had to be disguised with candles because producers were worried about offending viewers.
The 14th century church in Cheshire was chosen for the scene “because the characters wanted a traditional religious church wedding”.
But producers were anxious that the large brass cross standing on the altar of the church might offend viewers.
The cross was bolted to the altar, so instead of being removed, it had to be disguised with artificial flowers and a candelabra.
Revd James Milnes, the church rector, described the decision to obscure the cross as a “disgrace”.
Writing in his parish magazine, he said: “How can people think it offensive to see a cross in a church, in the same way as you would normally see the Koran in a mosque or the Torah in a synagogue? That is the emblem of this faith.
“This has a resonance around the country. It plays into who we are as a nation because I do not think we have a clear idea as English people. We do not really know where we are going.
“There is constant attrition to our way of life. You can’t say this or you can’t say that for fear of offending. Who can we possibly be offending?”
A spokeswoman for Granada, the producers of Coronation Street, said: “We are looking into how and why this happened. As the Rev Milnes rightly says, we chose the church because the characters wanted a traditional religious church wedding.
“Covering up the cross was an error and we apologise for any upset.”
In October the BBC exposed itself to criticism for its treatment of Christian characters after EastEnders’ Dot Cotton was ridiculed for objecting to a gay kiss.
A Roman Catholic group has highlighted prejudiced representations of churchgoers in soaps, who are depicted as objects of ridicule, moral hypocrites or cultish brain-washers.
The group said that the religious beliefs of characters, such as EastEnders’ Dot Cotton and Mrs Mack from High Road, are repeatedly made fun of.
In other soaps, such as Brookside, religious characters were only introduced into shocking storylines. For example, the character Margaret Clemence, a nanny, ran off with Father Derek O’Farrell, a Roman Catholic priest.
In another plot, a resident of the close, Simon, set up a shady religious cult which recruited regular characters Katie Rogers and Terry Sullivan.