Peterloo star fronts short film encouraging people to learn more about 1819 massacre

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A star of Mike Leigh’s historic political protest drama, Peterloo, has presented a new short film encouraging people to visit the city of Manchester and learn more about the landmark story for themselves.

Neil Bell, who played radical reformer Samuel Bamford in Peterloo, guides viewers through the history of the Peterloo Massacre, exploring locations in Manchester where visitors can discover more about the history of the tragic events that unfolded on August 16th 1819.

Commissioned jointly by Marketing Manchester and Manchester Histories, the film forms part of a city-wide series of over 180 events marking the 200th anniversary of Peterloo.

Watch Neil Bell present a short film about the Peterloo Massacre

A trailer for the Peterloo Visitor Film was premiered to an audience of 400 people at the launch of Peterloo 2019 at the Manchester Central Convention Centre, which overlooks the former location of St Peter’s Field, where more than 60,000 people gathered in 1819 to demand parliamentary reform.

The peaceful protest was crushed by massed government forces, killing 18 people and leaving more than 700 injured. Protestors had been calling for the right to vote, parliamentary representation for the people of Manchester and a repeal of the Corn Laws, which led to hardship and starvation.

Actor Neil Bell said: “Playing Samuel Bamford In Mike Leigh’s Peterloo gave me a real appetite to find out more about what happened in Manchester in 1819.

“That tragedy was also a defining moment for the city and it’s fitting that so many events are taking place this year to mark the 200th anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre.

Neil Bell as Samuel Bamford in Mike Leigh’s Peterloo

Sheona Southern, managing director of Marketing Manchester, said: “Peterloo was a tragic turning point in the history of Manchester, helping to ignite the spirit of defiance and progress that survives to this day.

“The city has changed massively in 200 years but there are still links to the past all around and I hope that this film will inspire people to come to Manchester and learn more about the history of democracy for themselves.”

The film features locations including the People’s History Museum, Manchester Central, Midland Hotel, Radisson Blu Edwardian Hotel – formerly the Free Trade Hall - and The Briton's Protection pub.

The Peterloo Visitor Film project was led by Marketing Manchester’s Manchester Content Curator Simon Donohue working with videographer Nick Hulme of One Smart Cookie.

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