1991

Dread Poet's Society

Another film I did for BBC2, Dread Poets' Society was based on the amazing Rasta poet Benjamin Zephiniah's experiences of being nominated to be an Oxford don.

In real life, The Sun newspaper suggested that the ghosts of Byron, Shelley and Keats would be turning in their graves at the thought of this happening. In the film, during a thunderstorm, the ghosts of Byron, Keats, Shelley and his wife, Mary, actually appear on the train taking Benjamin to Oxford to find out the outcome of his quest.

The film was shot in Wolverhampton, on a real train encased in a tent to enable the storm sequences to be shot efficiently. Sadly, a real storm blew the tent away, and the rest of the shoot had to be done at night. I remember it being a bit of a nightmare because we were all exhausted and the hotel we were in wasn't finished, but I really like the film. It's weird.

I played Shelley opposite Alex Jennings as Byron, Dexter Fletcher as Keats and Emma Fielding as Mary. Timothy Spall and Benjamin Zepheniah himself completed the cast.