My friend James Erskine is taking over the blog today to talk about his incredible documentary which is being shown on one night only in cinemas around Britain. It’s an amazing story, and a film that appeals across the board, whether you are interested in sport, tales of heroism or innovative documentary – you definitely don’t need to love cricket to be gripped…
“It’s been a rollercoaster six movie-making months bringing the story of the summer of 1981 to the screen – intrigue, rioting, personal struggles and joy – and that’s just making the movie.
England in the summer of 1981 was pretty screwed up – the Conservative government’s reforms and cutbacks were leading to mass protest and civil disturbance, the country was suffering from recession and all we had to look forward to was a Royal Wedding…
Sound familiar? But in 1981, from nowhere cricket hit the headlines in the guise of one Ian Botham – he started the summer as cricket captain, but as the team slumped to defeat, he resigned “a moment before being sacked”. Like the country he was in the doldrums – yet over the next four weeks, he became rejuvenated with bat, with ball – as a hero he lifted the hearts of the nation. The country needed a fairytale – he provided it.
In the summer of 2010 I set about trying to bring this amazing moment to life – reinvigorated in a new cinema documentary called “FROM THE ASHES” that is in cinemas across the country on May 10th – initially for one night only.
We corralled interviewees, flew to Australia, Dubai and the US. Lovingly pored through archives and trawled through our record collections to create a soundtrack to die for – The Clash, The Specials, the Police – we got Chaz Jankel of The Blockheads to write the score and even Tony Hadley re-recorded a song.
The final icing on the cake was only completed last week when the extraordinarily talented Tom Hardy (who played for the Middlesex Colts in his youth and now plays Mad Max and Bronson) agreed to lend his voice to the narration.
What else can I say – it’s not just a cricket film – it’s a story of heroes, a chance to live out great battles of hearts and minds. For girls and boys and anyone fascinated by the haircuts of the early 80’s.
At the first press screening we were charmed when a Times journalist arrived with his father-in-law and son and they watched the film en famille. Touching to see a film be a focal point for a family and some reward for the pain of construction. When Botham turned in his greatest performance in that summer he overturned odds of 500-1 – at times making the movie has felt like that.
The film will be followed by a Q&A broadcast by satellite with Ian Botham, Bob Willis and Alistair Campbell – a nice mix of sport and politics!”
You can book tickets at www.fromtheashesthefilm.com/cinemas.html (recommended as seats are going fast)
It’s showing at 100 cinemas nationwide in the UK. In London the film plays on Tuesday 10 May at:-Gate Picturehouse, Cineworld Fulham Road, Empire Leicester Square, Apollo Piccadilly Circus, Clapham Picturehouse, Vue Finchley Road, Vue Islington, Odeon Wimbledon, Phoenix East Finchley, Vue Westfield, the O2 centre, Cineworld Wood Green, Cineworld Wandsworth and Cineworld West India Quay.