Toby Jones to star in BBC Two true life drama ‘Marvellous’

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BBC Two has ordered a one-off drama about a man once labelled with ‘learning difficulties’ whose life defies limitations.

Written by Peter Bowker (Occupation, Eric and Ernie), Marvellous tells the story of Neil Baldwin, who Bowker learned of in a 2010 article in The Guardian and immediately felt he had to meet.

Bowker revealed: “I have long been interested in how we use labels to limit the people we are describing – even, at worse, to dehumanise them. But Neil – despite being labelled and to some extent written off as a young man – struck me as a man who defied those who wished to define him.

“It struck me if there was going to be a drama about Neil then it had to reflect his fluid and eccentric story. It is, therefore, part biopic, part musical, part fantasy. It isn’t always an easy story. It isn’t sugar coated, but I think it is ultimately optimistic and celebratory. And I think that’s important in this era where vilifying and writing off others has become something of a national pastime.”

Actor Toby Jones, who will play Neil Baldwin, commented: “I am really intrigued and eager to explore Peter Bowker’s innovative and uplifting script.”

The official synopsis for the 90-minute film reads: “The film tells the beautiful, funny, true story of Neil Baldwin, a man who confounds our expectations: he has been a circus clown; a lay preacher; kit man at Stoke City (Lou Macari has often described him as his best-ever signing, and they became firm friends), once famously leading the City attack against Aston Villa in a testimonial match; he is on first name terms with leading sportsmen and senior clergy; and most recently, he was awarded an Honorary Degree by Keele University for the contributions he has made to campus life there across the last 50 years. In a world in which we seem intent on labelling each other, Neil has consistently defied any definition at all.”

Are you looking forward to Marvellous? Let us know below…