Part biopic, part musical, part fantasy, this is the inspirational and incredible true story of Neil Baldwin, a man who refused to accept the label of learning difficulties, and who has led an extraordinary life. Written by Peter Bowker and directed by Julian Farino
‘Neil Baldwin walked into the students’ union in 1960, an engaging schoolboy with learning difficulties from the local town of Newcastle-under- Lyme, and became a fixture.’ Marvellous tells the funny, moving and surprising story of Neil Baldwin, a man who decided that he was going to live out his fantasies and confound the expectations of those around him and those who dared to write him off.
Neil has been a circus clown; a lay preacher; kit man at Stoke City (The Stoke manager Lou Macari has described him as his best ever signing and they became firm friends) and once famously led the City attack against Aston Villa in a testimonial match.
Neil is on first name terms with leading sportsmen and senior clergy; and most recently, he was awarded an Honorary Degree by Keele University for the contributions he has made to campus life there across the last 50 years. In a world in which we seem intent on labelling each other, Neil has consistently defied any definition at all.
‘I thought if there was going to be a drama about Neil then it had to reflect his fluid and eccentric story. The film is, therefore, part biopic, part musical, part fantasy. Julian Farino, the director, delivers this vision with his customary intelligence, humour and visual brilliance. It isn’t always an easy story. It isn’t sugar coated, but I think it is, like Neil himself, ultimately optimistic and celebratory. And I think that’s important in this era where vilifying and writing off others has become something of a national pastime.’ Peter Bowker