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Nottingham Documentary Soul Boy to Feature on BBC One

26 May 20 words: George White

Renowned Nottingham documentary makers Luke Radford and Toby Curson are looking to lift the spirits of the nation with their upbeat story of 18-year-old Athony Flavin, who finds joy from a surprising source - Northern Soul. 

Soul Boy, a documentary from Nottingham filmmakers Luke Radford and Toby Curson, will feature on BBC One on Wednesday 27 May. 

The doc centres around Anthony Flavin, who grew up in care and recently moved to Nottingham, as he finds a sense of belonging from an unlikely place - Northern Soul. Luke describes the film as “an underdog story with themes of belonging, community and coming of age with a cast of colourful Notts characters and recognisable locations.” 

After being invited to a Northern Soul event by Anthony’s key worker, Luke Greenhill, Luke and Toby knew they had to create a documentary centred around the 18-year-old. “Anthony's fearless energy on the dancefloor and 1970s inspired outfit instantly caught our attention,” Luke says. “Over the space of a few months, we developed a relationship with Anthony and soon realised his story and journey was unique. He’s had a tough life living in care, but dancing and Northern Soul have allowed him to develop social skills and, for the first time in his life, feel a sense of community and belonging.”

His determination and attitude is inspiring

For Luke, the fact that Anthony had grown up in care made this project even more meaningful. “We felt it was important to share Anthony’s story, giving a platform and a voice to people often marginalised. Ant hasn’t let his circumstances hold him back, he doesn’t see himself as a victim. His determination and attitude is very inspiring.” 

The documentary follows Anthony as he makes his first steps towards becoming a DJ - and towards an independent life. As his time in care comes to an end, he finds strength and solidarity from the Northern Soul community. Anthony even gets to meet legendary Northern Soul DJ Richard Sealing, who plays some tunes while he dances in the Blackpool Tower Ballroom. 

Soul Boy will feature as part of BBC One’s Our Lives series, making Luke and Toby regular contributors for the company. “We made a documentary for BBC last year about Notts MC Jah Digga. Not long after the film was broadcast we shot some test footage with Ant and showed it to BBC producers Anthony Bartram and Nisha Chopra. They loved what we did and the film was commissioned.” 

Soul Boy will be available on BBC One at 19:30 on Wednesday 27 May