Il-Madonna tac-Coqqa was televised every Thursday from January to June 2002. The official Malta Broadcast Authority Audience Survey shows that the audience reached a level of 82,000. (see www.ba-malta.org, audience survey, 2nd quarter 2002).
Script by John Suda based on Guze’ Diacono’s classic
This Maltese classic recounts the story of Karmnu ta’ Randu, a farmer, who was a fanatic of the local feast at a village named Hal-Mirdum. He was highly renowned and respected by all. He was the main organiser behind all the preparations for the traditional feast every summer, putting up the decorations in the village streets, inside the church and also being one of the statue bearers during the procession.
He had worked the fields through all his life, fields which were the property of the church, and through which he had brought up his family. But a little incident during the preparations for the village big day proved to change his entire life and his family’s as well. He nearly came to blows with a youth, whose father was very influential with the church authorities. The youth swore vengeance and the land Karmnu had cultivated for years, was taken away from him. The fields that proved to be bread winning for his family were speculated. Moreover, to turn the villagers against Karmnu, the land was built and the profit donated to decorate the village statue with gold.
The villagers, many of whom were Karmnu’s best friends, dreamt of a better feast and a decorated titular statue financed by the ensuing profits. Karmnu turns against the feast itself and the clergy’s attitude even makes him anticlerical. This happens at a time when his daughter Rita falls in love with Marjanu, the convent novice. It all turns out to be a struggle for life, a saga of social truth surrounded by parochial pique.
A new well-off village resident, Bertie, understands Karmnu’s situation and, to help, employs Rita. But he has other intentions and tries to seduce her to compensate for his “kind-hearted feat”. Rita and Marjanu elope and get far from the village with Marjanu resigning from his vocation.