Marvellous

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Marvellous
Marvellous DVD cover.jpg
Marvellous DVD cover
Written by Peter Bowker
Directed by Julian Farino
Starring Toby Jones
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
Production
ProducerKatie Swinden
CinematographyDavid Odd
Running time90 minutes
Production companies
Release
Original network
Original release25 September 2014 (2014-09-25)
External links
Website

Marvellous is a British drama television film that was first broadcast on BBC Two on 25 September 2014. The 90-minute film, directed by Julian Farino and written by Peter Bowker, [1] [2] [3] is about the life of Neil Baldwin, from Westlands, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire. [4]

Contents

In the 1990s Baldwin, now an honorary graduate of Keele University, [4] [5] was appointed as Stoke City Football Club's kit-man by its manager Lou Macari. [4] [5] [6] [7] Baldwin's autobiography, Marvellous: Neil Baldwin – My Story, was published in hardback in 2015. [8]

Cast

Making cameo appearances as themselves:

Production

The programme was commissioned by Janice Hadlow and Ben Stephenson. The executive producers were Patrick Spence and Peter Bowker for Fifty Fathoms and Tiger Aspect Productions, and Lucy Richer for the BBC. [18]

Marvellous: Neil Baldwin – My Story
Author Neil Baldwin, with Malcolm Clarke
CountryUnited Kingdom
LanguageEnglish
Genre Autobiography
Publisher John Blake Publishing
Publication date
August 2015
Media typePrint (hardback)

Filming locations

Marvellous was filmed mostly in Staffordshire. [19] Several of the scenes were set at and filmed at Keele University. [19] Crewe Alexandra Football Club's Alexandra Stadium and the Glyndŵr University Racecourse Stadium in Wrexham, North Wales were used for the scenes set at Stoke City's football ground. [20] [21]

Reception

Writing in The Guardian , Sam Wollaston praised Jones's "lovely, very human, performance". [22]

Andrew Anthony, for The Observer , said "Jones realised its potential with such poignant insight into character that it’s impossible to imagine anyone else playing the part. [Baldwin]'s life has been a triumph of unselfconsciousness, which is easier read about than captured. But in a story fraught with the danger of sentimentality, Bowker located a sort of comic truth about an innocent at home and Jones made that truth both funny and movingly real." [23]

Ellen E Jones, reviewing the film in The Independent , said: "The triumph of Marvellous is that it's a feel good film that feels good, not through any Hollywood schmaltz, but through the sheer force of Baldwin’s own optimistic personality". [24]

Sarah Crompton, for The Daily Telegraph , described Marvellous as "sweet and sharp... on the whole a great number of people emerge well from this film, including Stoke City’s former manager Lou Macari (played by Tony Curran but also popping in as himself) and many long suffering clergy. It might have been too cute in different hands, but both Toby and Gemma Jones gave performances that were almost as miraculous as the story itself." [16]

Jim White, writing in The Sunday Telegraph , described it as "a wonderful, uplifting, life affirming 90 minutes of television. And the most compelling argument yet that – despite all the evidence presented by previous filmic depictions of the beautiful game – it is possible to extract telling fiction from football." [25]

Julie McDowall for Scotland's The Herald , described it as 2014's best television programme. [26]

Rachel Cooke in the New Statesman said of Toby Jones' portrayal of Baldwin that he "played him brilliantly, turning in an understated performance that combined innocence and wryness to powerful effect". She praised Bowker’s "pitch perfect script, which was as natural sounding as a conversation overheard on the top deck of a bus", and Farino’s direction – "so deft, quirky, witty and attentive to important details (buildings as well as moods; rooms as well as body language)". [27]

Reviewing the programme for the Stoke Sentinel , John Woodhouse said "It says everything for Neil that Marvellous was ever made. For in times when television is seduced by vacuity and celebrity, it doesn't sound that promising a pitch. A drama, set in Newcastle [under Lyme], about a man saddled with the tag of 'learning difficulties' who reveals himself to be so much more? Good luck with that one. And yet here it is – primetime BBC2." [28]

Stoke Sentinel columnist Simon Lowe described it as "the most human of stories: a truly stirring, laugh-out-loud tearjerker of a drama. Part biopic, part musical (has there ever been a better use of the ukulele in a piece of television – and I’m including George Formby’s contribution to the instrument’s status in that?) and part incredible journey, Marvellous was life-affirming and inspirational." [29]

Lou Macari was quoted in the Stoke Sentinel as saying: "The film really captures Nello [Neil Baldwin] as he was and for those who didn't know him I can assure them everything in the film is true. There are many moving moments, and it must be the best 90 minutes viewing Stoke-on-Trent has had for a long time." [30]

Awards

At the 2015 British Academy Television Awards, Marvellous won the Single Drama award and Gemma Jones received the British Academy Television Award for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Baldwin's mother. [31] Baldwin collected the former award and made an acceptance speech.

DVD

The DVD and a digital download of Marvellous were released on 1 December 2016.

Marvellous book

Baldwin's autobiography, Marvellous: Neil Baldwin – My Story, written with the help of Keele University alumnus Malcolm Clarke, was published in hardback by John Blake Publishing in August 2015. [8] [32]

Related Research Articles

Stoke-on-Trent City and unitary authority in England

Stoke-on-Trent is a city and unitary authority area in Staffordshire, England, with an area of 36 square miles (93 km2). In 2019, the city had an estimated population of 256,375. It is the largest settlement in Staffordshire.

Stoke City F.C. Association football club

Stoke City Football Club is an English professional football club based in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire. Founded as Stoke Ramblers in 1863, the club changed its name to Stoke Football Club in 1878 and then to Stoke City in 1925 after Stoke-on-Trent was granted city status. Stoke were one of the twelve founding members of the Football League in 1888. The team competes in the Championship, the second tier of English football.

Freddie Jones English actor (1927-2019)

Frederick Charles Jones was an English actor who had an extensive career in television, theatre and cinema productions for almost sixty years. In theatre, he was best known for originating the role of Sir in The Dresser; in film, he was best known for his role as the showman Bytes in The Elephant Man (1980); and in television, he was best known for playing Sandy Thomas in the ITV soap opera Emmerdale from 2005 to 2018.

Keele University Public research university in Keele, England

Keele University, officially known as the University of Keele, is a public research university in Keele, approximately 3 miles from Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, England. Keele was granted university status by Royal Charter in 1962 and was founded in 1949 as the University College of North Staffordshire.

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Luigi "Lou" Macari is a Scottish former footballer and manager. He began his playing career at Celtic where he was one of the Quality Street Gang, the outstanding reserve team that emerged in the late 1960s that also included Kenny Dalglish and Danny McGrain. He is best known for his time at Manchester United, where he played over 400 games. He helped them win promotion back to the First Division and then played in their FA Cup win of 1977. He then finished his playing career at Swindon Town.

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References

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  3. Lang, Neil (3 March 2014). "Toby Jones to star in BBC Two film Marvellous". ATV Today. Retrieved 4 April 2014.
  4. 1 2 3 "Stoke City: Former kit man Neil Baldwin receives honorary degree at Keele University". Stoke Sentinel . 16 July 2013. Archived from the original on 28 September 2014. Retrieved 26 September 2014.
  5. 1 2 Beckett, Francis (9 March 2010). "How Neil Baldwin became Keele University's mascot". The Guardian . Retrieved 26 September 2014.
  6. 1 2 Simon, Jane (25 September 2014). "Marvellous – Toby Jones is outstanding portraying extraordinary life of Stoke City kit man Neil Baldwin". Daily Mirror . Retrieved 26 September 2014.
  7. Spinks, Martin (11 September 2014). "Stoke City: Lou Macari leads plaudits for Neil Baldwin film". Stoke Sentinel . Archived from the original on 26 September 2014. Retrieved 26 September 2014.
  8. 1 2 Baldwin, Neil (with Clarke, Malcolm) (2015). Marvellous. John Blake Publishing. ISBN   978-1784186432.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
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  10. Dickson, E Jane (25 September 2014). "Neil Baldwin: "Prince Edward is the best royal I've met – I just knocked on his door"". Radio Times . Retrieved 26 September 2014.
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  13. Walsh, John (13 September 2014). "Quiet genius of Toby Jones: From The Hunger Games to Truman Capote, Hollywood can't get enough of British acting's most versatile talent". The Independent . Retrieved 26 September 2014.
  14. McIver, Brian (16 September 2014). "Scots actor Tony Curran on splitting his time playing an alien gangster and a Scottish football legend". Daily Record . Glasgow. Retrieved 29 September 2014.
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  21. "Marvellous! TV drama filmed at Wrexham's Racecourse wins two BAFTAs". Daily Post (North Wales) . 11 May 2015. Retrieved 12 November 2015.
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  24. Jones, Ellen E (25 September 2014). "Marvellous, BBC2, review: A film that feels good but not through any Hollywood schmaltz". The Independent . Retrieved 29 September 2014.
  25. White, Jim (28 September 2014). "Peter Bowker's uplifting BBC drama featuring Toby Jones truly was Marvellous". The Sunday Telegraph . Retrieved 3 October 2014.
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  31. "Ant and Dec repeat Bafta success". BBC News . 10 May 2015. Retrieved 10 May 2015.
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