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Timothy Spall stars as man whose son was killed while riding his bike in silent film that won British Airways contest

A short film starring actor Timothy Spall as a man whose son was killed while cycling on a country road will have a global audience numbering in the hundreds of millions this summer when it is featured during the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games.

The screenplay of the silent film, called 'BOY,' which is accompanied by a musical score by Alex Heffes, was written by doctor turned actor Prasanna Puwanarajah who received mentoring from actor Richard E Grant as part of British Airways' Great Britons initiative. The airline, a Tier One partner of the London Olympic and Paralympic Games, will also be showing the ten-minute film on flights in the months leading up to the event.

Ever since Beijing staged the most spectacular opening ceremony in Olympic history four years ago, there has been speculation over how the start of the Games in London will be marked. For budgetary reasons alone, the glitzy, cast-of-thousands approach taken in China was never likely to be repeated here, and the tone of the opening ceremony which is being orchestrated by movie director Danny Boyle, aims in his words to repeat "the feeling of inclusivity" adopted by Sydney in 2000.

According to Grant, who was a member of the panel of judges that selected Puwanarajah's screenplay, "Prasanna’s moving story has materialised into a beautiful piece of work that is every bit as impactful as his script. The beauty about ‘BOY’ is that millions of people from all over the world will understand it, because there are no barriers with silent films, and Timothy Spall is utterly superb. It is a touching film that incorporates the London 2012 Games in a wonderful way.”

Olympic Games always produce a number of moments that tug at the heartstrings, and we suspect that 'BOY,' which you can watch below, could provide the first of those this summer. We won't give anything else away, save to say that it features one of the Olympic Park venues that you'll be seeing a lot of come August.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

11 comments

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Denzil Dexter [140 posts] 4 years ago
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Beautiful film

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mrchrispy [456 posts] 4 years ago
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I seem to have a bit of that saw dust in my eye!

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Psycling [50 posts] 4 years ago
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Brilliant!

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WolfieSmith [1323 posts] 4 years ago
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Macabre mixed message to me. I'm confused. The government shut down the COI - the commissioning body for Public Information films - last week. Was this maybe the last hurrah?  39

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Tony Farrelly [2868 posts] 4 years ago
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MercuryOne wrote:

Macabre mixed message to me. I'm confused.

That sounds like life.

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WolfieSmith [1323 posts] 4 years ago
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So the lesson is: 'Life is all about accepting loss. Btw - Welcome to the London Olympics!!  4

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Sudor [188 posts] 4 years ago
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A sweet film - if you like this then check out Gideon's Daughter by Stephen Poliakoff in which there's a different take on a similar theme.

I for one will be glad for an antidote to Beijing bling this summer.

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Chuck [550 posts] 4 years ago
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Very good. I had something in my eye well before the end.

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antonio [1126 posts] 4 years ago
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Where does one begin with superlatives ?

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teamrocket13 [72 posts] 4 years ago
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Well that's just given me very water eyes. Brilliant

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Raleigh [1665 posts] 4 years ago
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Did this get cut?

I didn't see it last night.