Anthony is a heartbreakingly poignant dramatization of the real-life murder of Anthony Walker, who was killed in a racially motivated attack in Merseyside in 2005. The film, written by Jimmy McGoven, depicts the life Anthony should have had were it not so cruelly taken from him.
Telling his story in reverse, we begin with Anthony aged 25, being given an award for saving his school friend who had become homeless. We then journey backwards, through him becoming a father, getting married, getting engaged on Pointless – a fun addition – and going on a first date. By showing us the bright and full future that Anthony should have had, the final third of the film which depicts his murder feels even more devastating. McGoven was approached to make the film directly by Anthony’s Mother, Gee, after years of friendship, and it is likely the family’s direct involvement of Anthony’s family members that makes the show so heartfelt. The superb acting of Toheeb Jimoh, who plays Anthony, perfectly conveys a gentle and loving life cut devastatingly short.
Lucy Mangan in The Guardian praises McGowen’s writing, calling him, ‘our finest TV writer since Alan Bleasdale.’ She says that McGowen’s collaboration with the Walker family, ‘worked to beautiful, shattering effect, aided beyond measure by a brilliant cast and two pitch-perfect performances in particular from Toheeb Jimoh as Anthony and Rakie Ayola as Gee.’ In The Telegraph Anita Singh says: ‘With this film, the writer has made sure that we do remember Anthony’s life, so full of promise and cut short at 18.’ She goes on to praise Rakie Ayloa’s performance, particularly the gut-wrenching scene in which Gee asks a nurse to pray for her son. The Times’ Ben Dowell says the show takes you ‘to some deeply private and harrowing places,’ and said: ‘It was powerful stuff and unlike anything I’ve seen before.’
Anthony is an important film highlighting the devastation caused by racism in the UK.
First shown July 2020. You can watch the trailer by pressing play on the show image, or by clicking here.