I have failed to post for three months now. This post, however, is too important not to write.
Tonight, I finally sat down, amongst my abundance of moving boxes and cleaning supplies, to watch Paul Andrew Williams’ Murdered for Being Different and I am in awe.
To say that I am in awe seems almost thoughtless. That something of this measure could be considered wonderful and incredible seems unjust. Yet, those are just a handful of words that I could use to describe this BBC drama.
Telling the harrowing story of the murder of 20-year-old Sophie Lancaster, Murdered for Being Different is a tale of love and hate. With almost 70,000 reported Hate Crimes in Great Britain alone last year, the importance of telling this story is so astonishingly clear.
Nick Leather’s script delivers this story so well, recording such an unfair and one-sided crime that was unprovoked and so plainly unnecessary. It begs the question: why not choose love? Why are we each not celebrated for our differences, rather than our similarities? Humans were not created to fit a mold. We have our own minds, our own opinions and our own beliefs. That is what is so beautiful about humankind and to pretend otherwise is to provide a disservice to ourselves as well as those around us.
I am keen not to go into too much detail of this tale, though many of you will remember this story from ten years ago when Sophie died due to the injuries that she sustained when she and her boyfriend, Rob, were assaulted purely because of their gothic looks. I do not want to go into these details because I am of the firm belief that everybody should watch this story themselves. Never would I want to write a post that makes you feel that you have already seen it because never could I deliver such an important tale so eloquently.
It feels wrong to call Murdered for Being Different a ‘story’ or a ‘drama’ because it is true. It has happened. Sophie was murdered and this cannot be denied. Yet, this is what it is: a true story that is yours to watch, to learn from and to hold in your heart.
Based on this tragic tale alone, Murdered for Being Different is extraordinary yet the added wonder of Paul Andrew Williams’ direction, Vanessa Whyte’s cinematography and a phenomenal use of music make this drama a cinematic masterpiece. From the very first second, when we are reintroduced to the “world of pure imagination” that transports us straight back to our childhoods, we are hooked on the tale that is about to unfold. We are drawn into a love story of two young adults who had their entire lives ahead of them, but mostly, we are drawn to Sophie, who never had the chance to see how her life would turn out or even to see the movie world of Harry Potter come to its end.
Murdered for Being Different is haunting and beautiful, harrowing and chilling, heart-wrenching and imperative. My heart stayed in my throat throughout but the last fifteen minutes will make you rethink everything you have ever thought of the world. I have never felt such heartache when watching television and I mean that in the most wonderful way.
Film and television is such a powerful medium for storytelling and this is no exception. Murdered for Being Different is, quite possibly, Williams’ best work. A must-see.
(I have linked every reference to Murdered for Being Different in this post to BBC iPlayer so that you, Reader, have no excuse not to watch it. Thank you.)