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BBC ONE SCREENS FILM PREMIERE OF PRIVATE PEACEFUL                                                 14 January 2016


THE ADAPTATION of Michael Morpurgo’s much-loved First World War novel Private Peaceful will receive its network film premiere on BBC One, it was announced today.


The film will be screened at 11.30pm on Sunday 24 January, 2016, with Morpurgo urging parents and young people to set their recorders or catch up on iPlayer. The author says: “We are delighted that the BBC is screening the film on the same weekend as War Horse. Like the book, the film of Private Peaceful is suitable for family viewing.”


The film features a host of British talent, old and new including fast-rising British and Hollywood star Jack O’Connell who plays Charlie Peaceful opposite George MacKay – another young homegrown actor with a bright future.


Private Peaceful proved to be the last film role for the incomparable Richard Griffiths. Other stars include Alexandra Roach, Maxine Peake, Francis de la Tour, John Lynch, Stephen Kennedy and Anna Cartarat. It was directed by veteran Irish director Pat O’Connor, with a screenplay by Simon Reade and the music by Oscar-winning British composer Rachel Portman.


Private Peaceful is a moving story of brotherhood, comradeship and the impact of war, recounting the story of brothers Tommo & Charlie Peaceful from their rural childhood in the fields of Devon to the battlefields of Flanders, where one of the brothers is accused of cowardice in the face of the enemy.


Michael Morpurgo’s Private Peaceful is the multi award-winning book published by Harper Collins that remains one of the most popular books in schools teaching WW1. The film has been praised by teachers for its accuracy and its closeness to the spirit of the book. It remains one of the few films suitable for family viewing about the First World War.


Michael Morpurgo adds: “The story deals with one of the darkest aspects of a terrible war; the execution of soldiers on our own side. I wrote it wanting to highlight what I believed to be the injustice of those shot at dawn, but also to show the impact of the war, of any war, on family and friends and loved ones.


“This heartfelt and moving film brings vividly to life the simple fact that soldiers are people, usually young people, barely out of school, with families and homes. For many young people now, Private Peaceful has become their unknown soldier.”

Director Pat O’Connor says: “The shoot in the trenches was an emotional time for cast & crew. Seeing young men in uniform scrabbling out of the trenches into smoke and explosions had a huge impact on all of us.”


The film was made by Westcountry-based independent production company Fluidity Films and shot entirely on location in England and financed by British investors.


Producer Guy de Beaujeu says: “It is fitting that Private Peaceful is a truly independent British film, made by inspiring British talent behind and in front of the camera. It is a quintessentially British tale told by one of our greatest storytellers and read by parents and their children in their millions, all over the world.


“In this centenary of WW1 we believe it is essential that families experience events together, whether it is film, theatre, books, poetry or art, to enable them to discuss the First World War, taking it out of the classroom and into their lives. There’s no doubt that film is a potent way of grabbing young people’s attention, even with difficult subjects like WW1.”


Screenwriter and adapter Simon Reade adds: “Michael’s original story for Private Peaceful is hugely powerful. The fact that it is a book that has been adapted into a one man show, a play, a BBC radio play and now a film is testament to its enduring brilliance.


“Private Peaceful has become one of the most iconic stories associated with the First World War. We are thrilled that it will be premiered on the BBC and think it fitting that it will be shown the night after Steven Spielberg’s version of War Horse, as part of a Morpurgo weekend.”





New York – August 28, 2014






 BBC Worldwide North America announced today that they have acquired all rights in the U.S. and Canada to Private Peaceful, the World War I drama based on the bestselling novel by Michael Morpurgo (War Horse).


Directed by Pat O'Connor (Sweet November), the film stars an all-British cast including Jack O’Connell (Starred Up, Unbroken), George MacKay (How I Live Now), and the incomparable Richard Griffiths (the Harry Potter films, The History Boys) in his final performance. The film will have a national release in theaters fall 2014.


“On the heels of our World War I commemorative screening campaign in August, we are continuing to bring captivating films with exceptional storytelling from across the pond to the big screen,” states Soumya Sriraman, EVP Home Entertainment and Licensing. “I am certain that Private Peaceful is the next film that will continue to build conversation around this very important time in history,”


Guy de Beaujeu, producer for Fluidity Films says: “Private Peacefulis Michael Morpurgo’s brilliant follow up to War Horse. It’s a beautifully realized tale that shines a light on the horrors of the First World War in this Centenary year.”


Simon Reade, screenwriter and producer adds: “It shows British period filmmaking at its very best with standout performances from two of Britain’s brightest stars Jack O’Connell & George Mackay. We are delighted to be working with BBC Worldwide to bring this unforgettable and moving tale to North American audiences.”


Private Peaceful begins in rural England in 1908 and ends in the First World War trenches of Europe. It is the story of the unbreakable bond between two brothers, Tommo Peaceful (MacKay) and his older sibling Charlie (O’Connell), from the death their father to their work for the Colonel (Griffiths) on his country estate and their love for the same girl, Molly Monks (Alexandra Roach, The Iron Lady).


Though Charlie wins Molly’s hand, war offers the heartbroken Tommo an escape. Although underage he enlists, leaving behind his family and the pregnant Molly.  But he is soon joined by Charlie, whose bond with his younger brother is overriding. On the battlefield they learn how to survive gas attacks and shelling; but the real battles are the price of family loyalty, the cruel attentions of Sergeant Hanley (John Lynch, Sliding Doors) and the onslaught of summary military justice.


The deal was negotiated between BBC Worldwide North America and Goldcrest, distributor on behalf of Fluidity Films.

About BBC Worldwide Americas:


BBC Worldwide is the main commercial arm and a wholly-owned subsidiary of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). BBC Worldwide Americas brings together all of BBC Worldwide businesses across North and South America. The company exists to maximize the value of the BBC’s assets for the benefit of the UK license payer, and invests in public service programming in return for rights. The company has five core businesses: Channels, Content & Production, Sales & Distribution, Consumer Products and Digital.  Under these businesses fall two key brands in the U.S. – digital cable channel BBC AMERICA and BBC Worldwide Productions, the production arm responsible for the smash hit Dancing with the Stars.


25 MARCH 2014




Michael Morpurgo will launch Private Peaceful Day on March 31 with a live Q&A via satellite following special screenings of the film for schools, it was announced today.


In a major event for schools, held in partnership with the National Literacy Trust and education charity Into Film, 100 cinemas across the UK, including those in the Picturehouse & Cineworld groups, will screen the film as part of the Centenary commemorations of WW1.


Students will also be able to watch Michael answer questions live about Private Peaceful. Students attending the screenings will be invited to send in their questions, with a selection of the best being asked during the Q&A.Each pupil attending the screenings on Private Peaceful Day will receive a free Michael Morpurgo book donated by HarperCollins.


The screenings are part of a wider programme of events around Michael’s seminal book, which has been a mainstay of WW1 teaching for almost a decade.Children and young people throughout the UK will be able to see the film in their schools and youth clubs through Into Film’s club programme, which enables pupils to watch, discuss, review, make and learn through watching a variety of films.Following the screenings, the National Literacy Trust, partnering with Into Film (the new UK-wide film-learning programme, which incorporates the legacy of two former charities FILMCLUB and First Light and aims to put film at the heart of children and young people’s learning) will distribute a new cross-curricula resource for schools that will encourage greater understanding of the issues raised by Private Peaceful and increase film and more traditional literacy skills. This will be available both on and off line in early summer 2014.


Private Peaceful is a moving story of brotherhood, comradeship and the impact of war, recounting the story of brothers Tommo & Charlie Peaceful from their rural childhood in the fields of Devon to the battlefields of Flanders.


The British-made film stars the late, incomparable, Richard Griffiths in his last role alongside a host of British talent including George MacKay (Sunshine on Leith), Jack O'Connell (Starred Up, 300: Rise of an Empire), Alexandra Roach (One Chance), Maxine Peake (Silk), Frances de la Tour (Hugo) and John Lynch (Sliding Doors).


Michael Morpurgo says: “Private Peaceful deals with one of the darkest aspects of a terrible war; the execution of our own side. I wrote it wanting to highlight what I believed to be the injustice of those shot at dawn, but also to show the impact of the war, of any war, on family and friends and loved ones. This heartfelt and moving film brings vividly to life the simple fact that soldiers are human beings, not just uniforms.”


Guy de Beaujeu, the film’s producer says: “The film has been praised by teachers as an excellent teaching aid in its depictions of WW1 and for remaining true to Michael’s original novel. There is a growing realisation among education providers that Private Peaceful is the perfect project for the Centenary – it is non-judgemental, non-jingoistic and unsentimental.”


Abigail Moss, Deputy Director at the National Literacy Trust says: “We’re delighted to be working with Fluidity Films and Into Film on this exciting venture to bring Private Peaceful to the heart of learning and literacy for thousands of students across the UK. Teachers will be able to use this timely resource to focus on the First World War and actively engage children and young people through the film, in both literacy and film literacy learning. We hope that this will have a positive impact on students’ attainment across curriculum areas as well as being a fun and interactive way for schools to mark the centenary year of WW1.”


Jane Fletcher, Schools Programme Director at Into Film says: “Curriculum linked and enrichment teaching resources for learning through and about film are a key element of Into Film’s remit to put film at the heart of children’s and young people’s learning and cultural experience, and we are thrilled to be partnering with National Literacy Trust and Private Peaceful to bring this unique new teaching resource to our membership of Into Film clubs in schools, colleges and youth groups throughout the UK. We hope that this resource will enable teachers to support young people’s development of their literacy and film literacy skills by exploring behind the scenes of both Michael Morpurgo’s book and the film, which in turn brings World War 1 to life for the students.”


Throughout the year audiences will be able to see and take part in a range of events and activities around Private Peaceful. The launch will coincide with a major initiative by CityRead London. The charity has chosen Private Peaceful as the book all of London will be encouraged to read for a week from 31 March.


Screenwriter Simon Reade’s acclaimed one man show is on tour through Scamp Theatre/Fiery Angel at venues around the country, Michael Morpurgo’s a capella concert with Coope, Boyes & Simpson will also tour and Simon’s play for schools is being performed in schools and colleges across the UK.


The nation’s 4,000 libraries are also being encouraged to join in with Private Peaceful Day to get the whole nation reading the book and seeing some version of Private Peaceful.


Students will be encouraged to share their thoughts about Private Peaceful and upload images connected to the book and film on the film’s Facebook page.


Schools wishing to book screenings can see the list of participating cinemas and booking details on

Private Peaceful is an excellent project for the centenary.

It is non-judgemental, non-jingoistic and unsentimental.

And it speaks to all ages of the nation.

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