Against the Law starring Daniel Mays aired in the UK Wednesday 26 July on BBC Two to rave reviews from both the viewing audience and television critics. The one-off factual drama was in third spot for Twitter trends during the almost 90 minute broadcast.
Agains the Law is BBC Two’s powerful factual drama about Peter Wildeblood, a thoughtful and private gay journalist whose lover Eddie McNally, under pressure from the authorities, turned Queen’s evidence against him in one of the most explosive court cases of the 1950s – the infamous Montagu Trial.
More than ten years before the decriminalisation of homosexual acts in 1967, Peter Wildeblood, and his friends Lord Montagu and Michael Pitt-Rivers, were found guilty of homosexual offences and jailed.
With his career in tatters and his private life painfully exposed, Wildeblood began his sentence a broken man, but he emerged from Wormwood Scrubs a year later determined to do all he could to change the way these draconian laws against homosexuality impacted on the lives of men like him.
The reviews are in:
Observer New Review : [Daniel Mays] is perfect in the role.
The Times: ★★★★☆ Daniel Mays was ideally cast as Peter Wildeblood, whose bravery and testimony in 1954 helped to bring about changes in the law for gay men.
The Telegraph: ★★★★☆ A moving story of men who refused to feel ashamed. “…Daniel Mays, who can play cocky and cruel, but here wore the heartbreaking look of a schoolboy learning the vital skill of moral self-defence.”
The Guardian: Mays is unobtrusively brilliant as Wildeblood
The Arts Desk: Daniel Mays is a revelation in a factual drama about Peter Wildeblood’s imprisonment for homosexuality. He exceeds all expectation with this performance. He finds a remarkable range in a life wholly governed by watchfulness and fear.
The Spectator: In the central role, Daniel Mays captured Wildeblood’s reluctant journey into the spotlight perfectly.
Digital Spy: Against the Law is a powerful reminder of how far we have come.
Den of Geek: Daniel Mays delivers an astonishing performance as Peter Wildeblood.
The Conversation: A fitting tribute to gay men whose persecution in the 1950’s paved the way for new rights.
Radio Times: Against the Law won heaps of praise from viewers last night, many of whom were moved to tears as they hailed the docudrama as both “heartbreaking” and “frustrating”.
The Northern Echo: Daniel Mays says that he believes the drama is “a profound, important piece of work”
You can catch up with Against the Law on BBC iPlayer through 25 August.
Follow Daniel Mays on Twitter @DanielMays9