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The Monastery was a documentary television series made by Tiger Aspect Productions for BBC Two which aired in the UK in May 2005. The program follows five modern lay men as they embark into a 40 day and night introduction into Roman Catholic monastic life at Worth Abbey, West Sussex, England under the guidance of Abbott Christopher Jamison and the community of 22 Benedictine monks.
Tony Burke, 29, single and from London. Worked in the world of advertising and production of television trailers for sex chat lines. Of the five, it was Tony whose experience on the show was most profound.
Dr. Nick Buxton, 37, completed a PhD in Buddhist Studies at Cambridge University and has as stayed in numerous monasteries around the world. After the series Nick trained to be an Anglican priest at St Stephen's House, Oxford University and has contributed to media with his thoughts on theology which have included a visit to the Coptic Monastery of Saint Anthony in Egypt. He is now a Minor Canon at Ripon Cathedral. His book on monasticism Tantalus and the Pelican, which includes considerable description and assessment of his experience at Worth Abbey and at St. Hugh's Charterhouse, Parkminster, the Carthusian monastery visited during the series, was published in January 2009.
Peter Gruffydd, 69, married and a retired teacher from Bristol. The published poet wanted to re-examine the faith in which he was raised as a child, having rejected religion in his youth.
Gary McCormick, 36, single and from Cornwall. Originally from Belfast, he joined the loyalist paramilitary group, the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) at 18 years of age. He claims to have been falsely accused of fire bombing a shop and vandalising a catholic home which in turn led to time in prison. Now a committed Christian who found God at the age 23.
Struggling with alcohol and low self esteem as a consequence his troubled past, Gary decided to participate on the show to come to terms with issues prior to getting married to his fiancée.
Anthoney Wright, 32, single and from Nottingham. Working for a legal publishing company in London, he was raised by his Baptist grandparents, he was in search of a way to deal with issues surrounding his mother and alternatives to his hedonistic lifestyle.
After the series Anthoney became a practicing Buddhist and is now a published singer-songwriter; his debut album Feet on the Ground was released in March 2009.
- The Monastery Revisited (BBC Two, UK)
- The Convent (BBC Two, UK)
- The Retreat (BBC Two, UK)
- The Monastery (Discovery Channel, US)
- The Abbey (ABC, Australia)
- The Monastery (YouTube)
- Worth Abbey website
- Tiger Aspect
- Finding Sanctuary
- Anthoney Wright's MySpace music site
- Tony Burke's story, Worth Abbey websiteTemplate:BBC-tv-prog-stub
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