The true story behind Anthony – how accurate is the BBC drama about Anthony Walker’s homicide?


Fifteen years after the racially-motivated homicide of teenager Anthony Walker, BBC One is airing Anthony – a drama which imagines the life the aspiring-lawyer may have led had he not been killed in July 2005.

Written by Hillsborough’s Jimmy McGovern, the 90-minute movie exhibits Anthony marry the love of his life, save an previous pal from homelessness, watch the delivery of his daughter and get a job at a barristers’ chambers – alternatives which had been robbed from him the evening he was murdered.

As a big a part of the drama is fictionalised, McGovern wrote Anthony’s story primarily based off of conversations he had with Anthony’s mom Gee Walker, however how accurate are the true-to-life elements? And what are the imagined occasions of Anthony’s life primarily based off of?

Right here’s every little thing it’s essential to know about the true story behind Anthony Walker’s homicide and the way accurate Anthony is in portraying the teenager’s life on display screen.

The true story behind Anthony Walker’s loss of life

Anthony Walker, a Black British scholar dwelling along with his household in Huyton, Merseyside, was murdered on 30th July 2005 in a racist assault.

The 18-year-old had spent the night at house, babysitting his nephew along with his girlfriend Louise Thompson. He walked with Thompson and his cousin Marcus Binns to the native bus cease, the place a stranger, Michael Barton, shouted racial abuse at him and his cousin.

The group walked to a different bus cease, however Barton and his pal Paul Taylor adopted them in a automobile and attacked the group. Whereas Binns and Thompson managed to run away, Walker was fatally injured when Taylor stabbed his head with an ice axe.

Walker was taken to hospital, the place he died at 5:25am. Barton and Taylor fled to Amsterdam, however after being named as suspects, they returned to Liverpool 4 days later and had been arrested and charged with Walker’s homicide.

Anthony Walker

Merseyside teenager Anthony Walker was murdered in a racist assault in 2005
Getty Photographs

Taylor and Barton had been each convicted of homicide and sentenced to life in jail, with minimal phrases of 23 years and 17 years respectively.

Talking about Walker’s homicide, Anthony author Jimmy McGovern mentioned throughout a Q&A roundtable that the information was “big in Liverpool”.

“It had such an affect on the metropolis. The sense of shock was monumental, all people marching and strolling and simply eager to be related to the Walker household and their grief,” he mentioned. “It was akin to Hillsborough, that sort of affect.”

Over 3,000 mourners attended Anthony Walker’s funeral in Liverpool on 25th August 2005 and the service was broadcast on an enormous display screen in Liverpool metropolis centre.

After Taylor and Barton’s two-week trial, Walker’s mom Gee Walker instructed reporters that she forgave her son’s killers by drawing on her Christian religion, saying: “I’ve acquired to forgive them. I nonetheless forgive them. My household and I nonetheless stand by what we consider: forgiveness.”

“She’s acquired the strongest Christian religion of anyone I’ve ever met,” McGovern mentioned. “When she mentioned she forgave these two younger males, my God, the metropolis of Liverpool was simply overwhelmed with feeling. She’s a tremendous lady.”

In reminiscence of Walker, who needed to review legislation at college, the Crown Prosecution Service in Merseyside created the CPS Anthony Walker Regulation Scholarship in 2008 – a 12 month scholarship open to any Black or Minority Ethnic graduate who needs to review for the Authorized Observe Course.

How did Jimmy McGovern write Anthony Walker’s fictionalised life?

A big a part of the 90-minute drama imagines what Anthony Walker’s life would have been like had he not been murdered on 30th July 2005, which meant that McGovern was scripting occasions inside an actual particular person’s life that by no means occurred.

“It was primarily based on loads of what I realized from Gee,” McGovern mentioned when speaking about writing the script for Anthony. “The notion of serving to someone, that got here from Gee. He was the first to assist a human being.”

The author added {that a} scene wherein Walker scolds a homeless man who refuses handy over a replica of The Huge Challenge was primarily based off of his respect for the guidelines and his love of the journal.

“That preliminary scene the place he’s ready to provide however he desires the guidelines obeyed – you don’t mess about with the Huge Challenge. It’s a beautiful initiative, and if a person is allowed to mess about with The Huge Challenge, it ruins it for all the different Huge Challenge salespersons.” he mentioned. “In order that precept that he sticks to is very a lot Anthony and really a lot got here from Gee.”

How accurate is Anthony?

Toheeb Jimoh and Julia Brown in Anthony


Whereas the plot of Anthony is primarily fictional, primarily based off particulars supplied to McGovern by Gee Walker about her son, the movie does additionally dramatise Walker’s loss of life and what he was doing the evening he was killed.

Toheeb Jimoh, who performs Anthony in the drama, mentioned that the solid and crew tried to maintain the costumes and the approach wherein Walker was portrayed as accurate as potential.

“We at all times had reference factors from Gee as to what sorts of stuff he would put on. He would put on a basketball jersey with a shirt beneath after which stuff on high,” he mentioned. “A variety of that got here from Gee, and so yeah, we tried to maintain it as truthful as we may but in addition there have been a great deal of references all through even after we had been doing the fictitious bits.”

Jimoh added that Gee additionally influenced the approach wherein he acted as Anthony, offering notes throughout the drama’s read-through.

“She simply mainly gave all of us her blessing to inform the story and he or she wished us the finest and it was nothing however positivity and sort phrases, after which she type of whispered to me once more, as a result of we had been doing a readthrough and I used to be improvising, I used to be throwing stuff in that wasn’t even in the script at some factors, and he or she simply pulled me apart and went, ‘Anthony didn’t swear.’”

Whereas McGovern tried to base the fictional moments of Walker’s life on real-life references, he mentioned that the scene wherein Anthony seems on BBC gameshow Pointless was not knowledgeable by something from Walker’s life. “I’m afraid it’s completely from my creativeness however I’ve truly been on Pointless and I acquired to the face to face I’m proud to say.”

Why did Jimmy McGovern write Anthony?

Liverpool author Jimmy McGovern, who has penned dramas Cracker, Hillsborough, The Lakes, The Road and Accused, mentioned that he was approached by Anthony Walker’s mom Gee Walker to put in writing the mission.

“I’ve recognized Gee for fairly some time, and also you simply don’t say no to Gee,” he mentioned. “I’d recognized Gee primarily as a result of I’d used Gee. I’m a author, however what you do as a author is you employ all the assets potential, and Gee was at all times beneficiant along with her time. So each time I wanted to speak about loss, or grief, or ache of loss, I went to Gee Walker first. And she or he was actually forthcoming and beneficiant. After which at some point, Gee mentioned to me, ‘It’s my flip now’.”

He added that he determined to put in writing a drama about the life that Anthony Walker by no means acquired to reside as an alternative of focussing solely on occasions main up his homicide as he needed to method his loss of life in a recent approach.

“The BBC had simply proven a extremely good movie about the loss of life of Damilola Taylor, and I knew that if I went to the BBC with a drama that confirmed a lead-up to the killing, the killing and the aftermath of the killing, about a younger black boy, the BBC would say, ‘Effectively, we’ve already achieved this with the Damilola Taylor story’. So I needed to discover a recent approach in, in order that’s how that got here about actually.”

He continued: “And I’d been considering about the First World Struggle… 1000’s died and I stored on considering, what number of of these males who died may have achieved one thing of their life? A treatment for a virus, maybe… And that acquired me considering about Anthony. That’s the approach it got here about.”

Which characters in Anthony are actual?

Whereas Anthony, performed by Toheeb Jimoh, was primarily based on a real-life character, as was his mom Gee Walker (Rakie Ayola), the character of Katherine, who Anthony goes on to marry and have a toddler with, was utterly fictional.

“I believe she’s only a image of a love story that he by no means acquired to have,” mentioned Julia Brown who performs Katherine. “And that type of past love and so they have a toddler collectively and a phenomenal wedding ceremony and I believe it exhibits as nicely how Anthony’s household simply accepts her into a part of the household.”

“The approach that the character dotes on Anthony exhibits how particular an individual he is and I believe she picks up on every little thing that he stands for, their first date and I believe she’s stunned a little bit bit when she first meets him simply how fantastic this particular person is. I thinks it’s only a character to point out what a relationship he may have had that was taken away from him,” she added.

Anthony airs on BBC One on Monday 27th July at 8:30pm – take a have a look at what else is on with our TV Information


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