Millions of fans of the TV Show, “Touched by an Angel” will get their chance to buy and view two new DVD collections of the popular series that ran from 1994-2003 starting this week. TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL: INSPIRATION COLLECTION – HOPE and HOLIDAY each feature four shows selected by series executive producer Martha Willamson.
In an interview for Catholic Exchange, both Williamson and Roma Downey, who played the angel “Monica” talked about the release of the DVDs and how the series still impacts their lives today. Touched by an Angel won 11 Emmy awards and two Golden Globes during its nine years on CBS and remains in reruns on the Hallmark channel.
Roma Downey was born and raised in Derry, Northern Ireland and said she laughingly referred to her educational upbringing by the Sisters of Mercy, “as the Sisters of ‘No Mercy’, it was an all-girls school you know, so those sisters had to be tough. I have a lot of fond memories, though. My oldest brother became a priest. We tease him today by calling him Father Brother.”
Roma said when the series was on the air, hers was the only Irish accent on primetime U.S. television. “My relatives back in Ireland were very proud of this, and when they heard my character the angel Monica speak they would tell me, ‘we always knew the angels were Irish!’”
Executive producer Martha Williamson said all the over 200 episodes of Touched by an Angel tried to remain faithful to what was know about angels and God from the Bible. “Your relationship with God is very important. You always need to work on your relationship with God. Draw nigh onto Him and you will have no fear of death, that was part of each episode.”
Williamson told Catholic Exchange that today many, if not most, television shows have gotten darker and very few, if any, network shows talk about God at all. “Even well-made shows today, send subtle messages to kids that are not always family friendly. We were very proud of the fact that we took the point of view that it was okay to talk about God and to talk about angels and to make them part of your life.”
Roma said playing the role of the angel Monica changed her life both on and off the set. “In my experience playing Monica, I really learned how to listen. I will be forever grateful and humbled in how my ability to listen as a wife, friend and mother expanded. I allow myself to listen not just with my ears but with my heart.”
At its peak, more than 25 million people would tune in to watch Touched by an Angel and Roma told Catholic Exchange that she would pray before each episode the prayers that the Sisters of Mercy in Derry, Northern Ireland taught her. “I would remember the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi, ‘less of me God and more of you’…the nuns taught me well, really, that I could be a channel of peace and that grace could work through me.
Roma was so “touched” by the experience of working on the TV show that it carried into her involvement with program called, “Operation Smile.” An episode was made around the organization that provides dental services to the poor in the third-world countries and that led to Roma eventually traveling overseas to Vietnam as an ambassador for Operation Smiles and later to serve as a board member. Now her children and husband are also involved in the charity, “it is in giving we learn to receive,” said Downey.
Both Williamson and Downey hope that the release and perhaps subsequent popular sales in the Touched by an Angel DVDs will demonstrate that there is an audience out there for faith-based programs on network television. “People still write to me about these shows, and we have been off the air for almost 6 years,” said Williamson. “People want programs that make them think about where we are going, about God, about angels.
Here’s some information about the DVD’s:
TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL: INSPIRATION COLLECTION – HOPE includes the DVD debut of three episodes – including the series milestone 100th episode, “Psalm 151,” in which the angels celebrate Monica’s 100th assignment with a cake in the park — and features stellar guest stars such as Wynonna Judd, Rosa Parks and Mandy Patinkin.
TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL: THE INSPIRATION COLLECTION – HOLIDAY includes the DVD debut of the beloved “An Angel On The Roof” episode, following the angels as they try to perform a Christmas miracle by bringing the residents of a small Texas town together. The collection also includes two episodes featuring the most requested and frequent guest star, country music legend Randy Travis in his recurring role as Wayne.
[Copyright 2009 CatholicExchange.com]