Oscar-winning actor Tom Hanks was faced by protestors including nuns, as he began filming scenes for the upcoming film adaptation of Dan Brown's best-selling novel The Da Vinci Code in England yesterday (15AUG05).

The demonstration took place outside Lincoln Cathedral, which is doubling for London's Westminster Abbey, where religious leaders only agreed to allow filming after the movie's producers made a $180,000 (GBP100,000) donation.

Hanks, who will only be in Lincoln for two days, was chauffeur-driven the short distance from his five star hotel to the historic location - and he briefly waved at a small gathering of fans, who vied with demonstrators for his attention, before disappearing inside.

The cathedral's Dean, The Very Reverand ALEC KNIGHT, has dismissed Brown's 20 million-selling book as "a load of old tosh", but he was unable to turn down the offer which gives priceless publicity to his spiritual home.

However, demonstrators outside the cathedral have taken exception to Brown's questioning of their religious beliefs, and were led in a 12 hour prayer vigil by Catholic nun Sister MARY MICHAEL.

The 61-year-old says, "I just don't think it is right that they are filming this story here. I know the Bishop and Dean argue that it is fiction - and it might even be brilliant fiction - but it is against the very essence of what we believe."