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1001 billyelliot
Added on 06th July 2020

Writer Lee Hall
Director Stephen Daldry
First released 2000, (Cert 15) BBC Films, Tiger Aspect, Working Title Films

Family Identity and fairness
1001

A successful film that became an equally successful stage musical about a boy who discovers a talent for dancing in the face of opposition from his family and set against the backdrop of the miner's strike of 1984.

Story

According to Billy’s dad, ‘Lads do football or boxing or wrestling, not ballet’. Set in County Durham during the miners’ strike of 1984, Billy Elliot joins a ballet class, though he has to hide his dancing from his father and brother. It becomes an impossible secret to keep when his ballet teacher wants him try out for the Royal Ballet.

Why we chose it

Billy Elliot has been hugely successful, both as a film and as a musical. Against the backdrop of the miner’s strike and the day to day life of an industrial town threatened with the loss of its industry, it tells the story of a boy who discovers that he loves to dance and who, with all the odds against him, won’t give up. Full of humour and heart, the storytelling is great and the dance sequences are stunning.

Where it came from

Lee Hall grew up in a northern factory town. He wanted to tell a story about the clash between art and the day to day life of a working town. Remembering dancing on the bed as a child, he chose dance as the art form. Hall was living in Newcastle at the time of the miner’s strike and wanted to write about the loss of an industry and of a way of life. He pitched the story in 1995 but it was another two years before he produced the script and even then the BBC were uncertain about finding an audience for a story about miners and ballet. Director Stephen Daldry read the script and thought otherwise. He and Hall worked together on it and Billy Elliot was born

Where it went next

The film was a hit with both critics and audiences. It won 3 BAFTAs and had 3 Oscar nominations. Elton John saw it at the Cannes Film Festival and loved it. He worked with Hall and Daldry to create Billy Elliot the Musical which opened in the West End in 2005, directed by Daldry, with book and lyrics by Lee Hall and music by Elton John. It is still playing in the West End and in both America and Australia.

Associated stories

Lee Hall received critical acclaim for his radio play Spoonface Steinberg. He has had success on both stage and screen. His play The Pitman Painters is also set in the coalfields of the north east. He worked on the film versions of War Horse, Wind in the Willows and Cats and wrote the screenplay for Rocketman, the story of Elton John.

Stephen Daldry directed the film version of Trash, an adaptation on Andy Mulligan’s novel, with screenplay by Richard Curtis.

Added on 06th July 2020

Writer Lee Hall
Director Stephen Daldry
First released 2000, (Cert 15) BBC Films, Tiger Aspect, Working Title Films

Family Identity and fairness
1001