Against The Law

Against the Law – DVD

Against the Law is released on DVD today. Daniel Mays stars as Peter Wildeblood.

First aired on BBC Two in July as part of the BBC’s Gay Britannia season, Against the Law is an emotional look into life of homosexual men in 1950’s and 1960’s Britain.

2017 sees the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Sexual Offences Act, which decriminalised homosexual acts in England and Wales between adult males, in private. While it would take several decades before homosexuals would reach anything like full equality in this country, this legislation marks the beginning of this journey.

But the dramatic events that led to this Act took place over ten years before and are at the heart of Against the Law, a powerful factual drama starring Daniel Mays and Mark Gatiss. Mays plays Peter Wildeblood, a thoughtful and private gay journalist whose lover, 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. Wildeblood, and his friends Lord Montagu and Michael Pitt-Rivers, were found guilty of homosexual offences and jailed. But the public thought the trial unfair and forced a reluctant government to set up a committee to investigate whether homosexuality should be legalised. The committee was led by Sir John Wolfenden. With his career in tatters and his private life painfully exposed, Peter 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. He was the only openly gay man to testify before the Wolfenden committee about the brutal reality of being gay in this country at that time. In 1957 the committee recommended that the laws be changed. It would take a further ten years before these recommendations would become law.

Woven through this powerful drama is testimony from a chorus of men who lived through those dark days, when homosexuals were routinely imprisoned or forced to undergo chemical aversion therapy in an attempt to cure them of their ‘condition’. There is also testimony from a retired police officer whose job it was to enforce these laws and a former psychiatric nurse who administered the so-called cures. All these accounts amplify the themes of the drama and help to immerse us in the reality of a dark chapter in our recent past, a past still within the reach of living memory.

Against the Law is available on DVD from Monday 11 September

Against the Law review roundup

Follow Daniel Mays on Twitter @DanielMays9

©DanielMays.co.uk

Against the Law – The Reviews

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 GuardianMays 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 SpectatorIn 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

©DanielMays.co.uk

Against the Law – Tonight 9PM on BBC 2

Against the Law starring Daniel Mays has it’s television debut this evening at 9PM on BBC Two.

2017 sees the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Sexual Offences Act, which decriminalised homosexual acts in England and Wales between adult males, in private. While it would take several decades before homosexuals would reach anything like full equality in this country, this legislation marks the beginning of this journey.

But the dramatic events that led to this Act took place over ten years before and are at the heart of this powerful factual drama, starring Daniel Mays and Mark Gatiss. Mays plays Peter Wildeblood, a thoughtful and private gay journalist whose lover, 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. Wildeblood and his friends Lord Montagu and Michael Pitt-Rivers were found guilty of homosexual offences and jailed. But the public thought the trial unfair and forced a reluctant government to set up a committee to investigate whether homosexuality should be legalized. The committee was led by Sir John Wolfenden. With his career in tatters and his private life painfully exposed, Peter 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. He was the only openly gay man to testify before the Wolfenden Committee about the brutal reality of being gay in this country at that time. In 1957, the committee recommended that the laws be changed. It would take a further ten years before these recommendations would become law.

Woven through this powerful drama is testimony from a chorus of men who lived through those dark days, when homosexuals were routinely imprisoned or forced to undergo chemical aversion therapy in an attempt to curethem of their ‘condition’. There is also testimony from a retired police officer whose job it was to enforce these laws, and a former psychiatric nurse who administered the so-called cures. All these accounts amplify the themes of the drama and help to immerse us in the reality of a dark chapter in our recent past, a past still within the reach of living memory.

We hope that you tune in this evening to watch this incredibly important factual-drama.
Against the Law – BBC Two 9PM 26 July 2017.

Follow Daniel Mays on Twitter @DanielMays9

©DanielMays.co.uk

Against the Law – BBC Two 26 July

BBCTwo26July.jpg

Against the Law will air Wedensday 26 July at 9PM on BBC Two.

Daniel Mays (Line Of Duty, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Public Enemies) stars in BBC Two’s powerful factual drama as Peter Wildeblood, a thoughtful and private gay journalist whose lover Eddie McNally (played by newcomer to television, Richard Gadd), 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 (Mark Edel-Hunt) 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.

Daniel says: “I’m incredibly proud to be part of a drama that tells such an important real-life story. Peter Wildeblood is a fascinating, complex, yet flawed character from a time when being a gay man in Britain was incredibly difficult – I can’t wait to bring his tale to life for the BBC Two audience.”

Patrick Holland, Channel Editor, BBC Two, said: “50 years ago, it was a crime to be a gay man in the UK. Against The Law is a stunning piece that melds drama and documentary testimony to tell the story of one man, and his wider generation, as they struggled to make society accept their sexuality as non-criminal. It is brilliant to have a film that brings the authorship of Brian Fillis, the vision of director Fergus O’Brien, and the outstanding talent of Daniel Mays and cast to this important subject”

The drama also features Mark Gatiss (Taboo, Sherlock) as Wildeblood’s prison psychiatrist, Doctor Landers and Charlie Creed-Miles (Ripper Street, Peaky Blinders) as Superintendent Jones.

Woven through this powerful drama is real-life testimony from a chorus of men who lived through those dark days, when homosexuals were routinely imprisoned or forced to undergo chemical aversion therapy in an attempt to cure them of their “condition”. There is also testimony from a retired police officer whose job it was to enforce these laws, and a former psychiatric nurse who administered the so-called cures. All of these accounts serve to amplify the themes of the drama and help to immerse us in the reality of a dark chapter in our recent past, a past still within the reach of living memory.

Written by Brian Fillis, Against the Law is directed by Fergus O’Brien, produced by Scott James Bassett and executive produced by Aysha Rafaele, Creative Director of The Documentary Unit, BBC Studios.

Watch the trailer for Against the Law

Don’t miss this incredibly important factual drama on Wednesday 26 July 9PM on BBC Two.

Follow Daniel Mays on Twitter @DanielMays9

©DanielMays.co.uk

Against the Law – First Look Trailer

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Against the Law first look trailer was released today. Tune in to BBC TWo on  Wednesday 26 July at 9PM for this compelling and important factual drama.

Daniel Mays (Line Of Duty, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Public Enemies) stars in BBC Two’s powerful factual drama as Peter Wildeblood, a thoughtful and private gay journalist whose lover Eddie McNally (played by newcomer to television, Richard Gadd), 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.

Daniel says ‘I’m incredibly proud to be part of a drama that tells such an important real-life story. Peter Wildeblood is a fascinating, complex, yet flawed character from a time when being a gay man in Britain was incredibly difficult – I can’t wait to bring his tale to life for the BBC Two audience.’

Woven through this powerful drama is real-life testimony from a chorus of men who lived through those dark days, when homosexuals were routinely imprisoned or forced to undergo chemical aversion therapy in an attempt to cure them of their “condition”. There is also testimony from a retired police officer whose job it was to enforce these laws, and a former psychiatric nurse who administered the so-called cures. All of these accounts serve to amplify the themes of the drama and help to immerse us in the reality of a dark chapter in our recent past, a past still within the reach of living memory.

Written by Brian Fillis, Against the Law is directed by Fergus O’Brien, produced by Scott James Bassett and executive produced by Aysha Rafaele, Creative Director of The Documentary Unit, BBC Studios.

Against the Law is part of the BBC’s Gay Britannia season of programming marking the 50th anniversary of The Sexual Offences Act 1967, which partially decriminalised homosexual acts that took place in private between two men over the age of 21.

Follow Daniel Mays on Twitter @DanielMays9

©DanielMays.co.uk

Against the Law – BFI Flare World Premiere

Against the Law starring Daniel Mays had its world premiere at the BFI Flare London LGBT Film Festival on Thursday 16 March at the BFI in London.

The film is a powerfully moving drama and intermixed throughout is real-life testimony from men who lived through those dark days, when homosexuals were routinely imprisoned or forced to undergo chemical aversion therapy in an attempt to cure them of their “condition”.

BFI Flare audience reaction to the film was incredible and overwhelming.

Daniel says: “I’m incredibly proud to be part of a drama that tells such an important real-life story. Peter Wildeblood is a fascinating, complex, yet flawed character from a time when being a gay man in Britain was incredibly difficult – I can’t wait to bring his tale to life for the BBC Two audience.”

Daniel Mays (Line Of Duty, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Public Enemies) stars in BBC Two’s powerful factual drama as Peter Wildeblood, a thoughtful and private gay journalist whose lover Eddie McNally (played by newcomer to television, Richard Gadd), 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.Written by Brian Fillis, Against the Law is directed by Fergus O’Brien, produced by Scott James Bassett and executive produced by Aysha Rafaele, Creative Director of The Documentary Unit, BBC Studios.

Photos from the premiere evening can be seen on the BFI Flare Facebook page. Some of our favourites:

Made by BBC Studios, Against the Law will broadcast on BBC Two in July.

Follow Daniel Mays on Twitter @DanielMays9

©DanielMays.co.uk

Interview – Fergus O’Brien Against the Law 

Fergus O’Brien, director of Against the Law, was interviewed this morning on BBC Radio London to discuss the importance of the BFI Flare Film Festival.

Listen to Fergus O’Brien’s interview

The Evening Standard has a great piece on BFI Flare and Againt the Law. 

Against the Law premieres Thursday 16 March at BFI Flare The London LGBT Film Festival. 

The anticipated air date for Against the Law on BBC Two is July 2017 to coincide with 50th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexual acts in 1967

Follow Daniel Mays on Twitter @DanielMays9

©DanielMays.co.uk

BFI Flare: Against The Law World Premiere 16 March 2017

Updated 27 February 2017:  Tickets for both screenings of Against the Law on 16 March 2107 are currently SOLD OUT.  There is a possibility that tickets will be available on the day of the event.

BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival has today announced their exciting 2017 program line up for their 31st edition!

Against the Law starring Daniel Mays and Mark Gatiss has it’s gala world premiere with two screenings on Thursday 16 March 2017 at 18:15 and 20:45 at BFI.

BFI Member on-sale tickets: depending on membership level begins Monday 20 February through Wednesday 22 February 2017

Public on-sale tickets: Monday 27  February 2017 at 11:30 am

Against the Law is a timely and sensitive biopic based on Peter Wildeblood’s bestseller which tells the story of his affair with a handsome serviceman he met in Piccadilly and the devastating consequences of their relationship. Wildeblood had been a celebrated and well-connected journalist on the Daily Express, with a range of acquaintances that included Lord Montagu of Beaulieu. He is played by Daniel Mays, in a beautifully nuanced performance that charts his journey from Fleet Street via public vilification to his imprisonment under the same legislation that sent Oscar Wilde to Reading Gaol. Mark Gatiss gives a chilling performance as a prison doctor charged with administering therapeutic measures to homosexuals acquiescing to the idea that they can be ‘changed’.

The importance of Peter Wildeblood’s case (jointly brought against him, Lord Montagu and Michael Pitt-Rivers) is that it brought the debate about homosexuality into the public domain. It led the way to the creation of the Wolfenden Committee on sexual law reform that eventually resulted in the passing of the 1967 Sexual Offences Act, which changed the lives of thousands of gay men with its partial decriminalisation of homosexual acts. This film offers a profoundly moving portrait of what it meant to be gay in the 1950s, underlining the importance of understanding our recent history and the immense social and emotional burdens endured by generations of gay men.

More information on the festival and ticketing can be found at the BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival website.

Follow Daniel Mays on Twitter @DanielMays9

©DanielMays.co.uk

Daniel Mays To Star In BBC Two’s ‘Against the Law’

Daniel Mays is to star in BBC Two’s Against the Law directed by Fergus O’Brien.


Daniel Mays (Line Of Duty, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Public Enemies) stars in BBC Two’s powerful factual drama as Peter Wildeblood, a thoughtful and private gay journalist whose lover Eddie McNally (played by newcomer to television, Richard Gadd), 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 (Mark Edel-Hunt) 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.

Daniel says: “I’m incredibly proud to be part of a drama that tells such an important real-life story. Peter Wildeblood is a fascinating, complex, yet flawed character from a time when being a gay man in Britain was incredibly difficult – I can’t wait to bring his tale to life for the BBC Two audience.”

Patrick Holland, Channel Editor, BBC Two, said: “50 years ago, it was a crime to be a gay man in the UK. Against The Law is a stunning piece that melds drama and documentary testimony to tell the story of one man, and his wider generation, as they struggled to make society accept their sexuality as non-criminal. It is brilliant to have a film that brings the authorship of Brian Fillis, the vision of director Fergus O’Brien, and the outstanding talent of Daniel Mays and cast to this important subject”

The drama also features Mark Gatiss (Taboo, Sherlock) as Wildeblood’s prison psychiatrist, Doctor Landers and Charlie Creed-Miles (Ripper Street, Peaky Blinders) as Superintendent Jones.

Woven through this powerful drama is real-life testimony from a chorus of men who lived through those dark days, when homosexuals were routinely imprisoned or forced to undergo chemical aversion therapy in an attempt to cure them of their “condition”. There is also testimony from a retired police officer whose job it was to enforce these laws, and a former psychiatric nurse who administered the so-called cures. All of these accounts serve to amplify the themes of the drama and help to immerse us in the reality of a dark chapter in our recent past, a past still within the reach of living memory.

Written by Brian Fillis, Against the Law is directed by Fergus O’Brien, produced by Scott James Bassett and executive produced by Aysha Rafaele, Creative Director of The Documentary Unit, BBC Studios.

Made by BBC Studios, Against the Law will broadcast on BBC Two later in the year.

Against the Law will have its  world premiere at the opening night gala for BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival on Thursday 16 March 2017. Public tickets to the film festival will be available 22 February. 

Updated 9 February 2017 with BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival information.

Follow Daniel Mays on Twitter @DanielMays9

©DanielMays.co.uk