Fergus O’Brien

Against The Law – 2018 BAFTA TV Nomination

Congratulations to Against the Law on its 2018 BAFTA Television Nomination for Single Drama!

img_1374This critically acclaimed docu-drama first aired in the UK on BBC Two  in July 2017 as part of the BBC’s Gay Britannia season, Against the Law is an emotional look into lives of homosexual men in 1950’s and 1960’s Britain.

Against the Law is a powerful factual drama starring Daniel Mays, Richard Gaddand 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.

The BAFTA Television Awards ceremony will be held at the Royal Festival Hall on Sunday 13 May and hosted by Sue Perkins.

Congratulations to Daniel Mays, Fergus O’Brien, Aysha Rafaele, the team at BBC Factual, and everyone involved in the making of this powerful drama.

Against the Law had it’s world premiere at BFI Flare in March 2017

Against the Law review roundup

Follow Daniel Mays on Twitter @DanielMays9

©DanielMays.co.uk

Mother’s Day

Daniel Mays is currently in production on the BBC single drama “Mother’s Day” a new factual drama for BBC Two about the events, aftermath and public response to the Warrington bombing of March 1993.  This 90 minute factual drama is directed by Fergus O’Brien (Against the Law).

From the BBC Press Site:

Filming has begun on Mother’s Day, a new factual drama for BBC Two about the events, aftermath and public response to the Warrington bombing of March 1993. Casting includes Anna Maxwell Martin, Vicky McClure, Daniel Mays and David Wilmot.

  • Casting includes Anna Maxwell Martin, Vicky McClure, Daniel Mays and David Wilmot
  • Filming is now underway in Belfast

Written by Nick Leather (Murdered For Being Different, Broken) Mother’s Day focuses on two ordinary women living either side of the Irish Sea, brought together in the wake of the tragedy.

Anna Maxwell Martin (Motherland, Good Omens) plays Wendy Parry, the mother of 12 year old Tim Parry who lost his life in the attack which left two boys dead and many others injured. Vicky McClure (Line of Duty, The Replacement) plays Susan McHugh, the Dublin mother of two so outraged by the loss of young life that she organised one of the largest peace rallies in Irish history, leading thousands through the streets in protest at the continued violence of the Troubles. Daniel Mays (Against The Law, Rogue One) will play Tim’s father Colin Parry, with David Wilmot (The Alienist, Black Sails) as Arthur McHugh. Further casting includes Simone Kirby and Conor Mullen.

Anna Maxwell Martin says: “I know that many will recall the bravery and dignity shown by the families affected by the Warrington bombings. It’s a real honour to be telling their story.”

Vicky McClure says: “Susan McHugh’s actions back in 1993 remain just as inspirational today as they were 25 years ago. I feel truly privileged to play her in this incredibly moving new film.”

Writer Nick Leather says: “As someone who grew up in Warrington and was on my way into town on the day of the bombing, bringing this astonishing story to the screen has been a career-long mission. Over the last year, I’ve been fortunate to work with a wonderfully supportive team at the BBC, including the director Fergus O’Brien, and have found the Parry and McHugh families to be even more inspiring than I did as a kid. I hope people are as moved and affected by this drama as we have been making it.”

Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama, says: “It is with great power and poignancy that Mother’s Day looks at how the worst of tragedies can affect both those directly involved and communities further afield, inspiring them to act. We’re immensely proud to tell this story. ”

Patrick Holland, Channel Controller of BBC Two, says: “Nick Leather’s script takes us into the heart of a family’s grief whilst also following the extraordinary unwillingness to let another death be in vain. With the outstanding Anna Maxwell Martin and Vicky McClure this promises to be a remarkable and powerful film.”

Aysha Rafaele, Executive Producer for BBC Studios, adds: “From my previous work with Nick Leather and Fergus O’Brien, I can’t think of a better team to bring this powerful story to the screen. Working closely with the real families involved, Nick has written a remarkable script and it’s a real joy to assemble such a first rate cast to play these roles.”

Mother’s Day (1×90’) is produced by BBC Studios for BBC Two, and will be directed by Fergus O’Brien (Against The Law) and produced by Scott Bassett (Murdered For Being Different). It was commissioned by Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama, and Patrick Holland, Controller of BBC Two. Executive Producers are Tommy Bulfin for the BBC and Aysha Rafaele for BBC Studios.

Best of luck to the cast and crew as they begin filming this important factual drama.

Stay tuned for updates from filming.

Follow Daniel Mays on Twitter @DanielMays9

©DanielMays.co.uk

BritBox- Against the Law – US Premiere

Against the Law starring Daniel Mays, Richard Gadd, Mark Gatiss and directed by Fergus O’Brien premieres in the USA today, 14 February, on BritBox.

This critically acclaimed docu-drama first aired in the UK on BBC Two  in July 2017 as part of the BBC’s Gay Britannia season, Against the Law is an emotional look into lives of homosexual men in 1950’s and 1960’s Britain.

2017 saw 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.

BritBox: Indulge your Inner Brit – Direct from the UK’s top channels, BBC & ITV, you’ll be connected like never before with expert curation and an inside view only these programmes can provide. 

If you live in the USA and are not already signed up, you can begin a 7 day free trial of BritBox. Fees apply after the initial free trial period.

Against the Law had it’s world premiere at BFI Flare in March 2017

Against the Law review roundup

Follow Daniel Mays on Twitter @DanielMays9

©DanielMays.co.uk

Against the Law Wins 2017 Pink News Award!

Against the Law starring Daniel Mays, directed by Fergus O’Brien, and written by Brian for BBC Two as part of the BBC’s Gay Britannia Season was nominated and WON the Pink News Special Award for 50th Anniversary coverage of the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality.

Daniel Mays attended this evening’s Pink News Awards in London (18 October). The Awards celebrate the contributions of politicians, businesses, campaigners and community groups to improving LGBT+ life in the UK and beyond.

Congratulations to all who were nominated and won this evening!

Watch the video of the evening’s awards at Pink News Facebook page.
Against the Law’s winning announcement with speeches from Fergus O’Brien and Daniel Mays is at 1hr28 mark.

Photos from tonight:

With thanks to Pink News and its voters.

Against the Law is available on DVD.

Follow Daniel Mays on Twitter @DanielMays9

©DanielMays.co.uk

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 – 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 – 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