In the summer of 2000, Damilola Taylor’s family moved from Lagos, Nigeria to London in search of better lives for themselves. That same year, Damilola was killed on November 27 – just 10 days before his 11th birthday. He left a computer class before walking home when two youths stabbed him with a broken bottle. He was found bleeding to death in a stairwell, having left a 30-meter trail of blood as he tried to crawl to safety. Brothers Danny and Ricky Preddie, aged 12 and 13 at the time, were convicted of manslaughter six years later. Each got eight years in juvenile detention for the attack, which they say happened as they tried to steal the coat Damilola was wearing shortly before his death. It was a tragedy that scarred the nation and generated headlines worldwide.
Now Damilola’s story is becoming a feature film.
Written by award-winning screenwriter and playwright Levi David Addai, “Our Loved Boy” is a feature-length drama commissioned by BBC One, which tells the story of Damilola Taylor and his family, exploring their journey from Lagos to London, the emotional repercussions of Damilola’s death, and the family’s quest for justice.
Damilola will be played in the film by a newcomer, although the BBC press release doesn’t give a name, other than to say he’s a 12-year-old born and raised in South London.
Babou Ceesay will be playing Damilola’s father, Richard Taylor OBE; and portraying Richard’s late wife, Gloria, will be Wunmi Mosaku.
On taking on the role, Babou said: “It is a real honor to be part of the telling of this story. I feel a responsibility to the family, to Richard Taylor and of course to Damilola Taylor. I hope that in our own small way we can contribute to his legacy.”
Mosaku added: “It is humbling to be a part of ‘Our Loved Boy.’ Damilola’s smile still resonates deeply within the UK and beyond.”
The film will go behind the headlines to explore the lasting impact of Damilola’s death on his close and loving family. It will not depict the crime which ended Damilola’s life, but instead will focus on the impact of the crime. It will be a film about justice, redemption and love, and is being made with the consent and support of Damilola’s father, Richard Taylor OBE.
“Our Loved Boy” is being backed by Minnow Films from BAFTA and Emmy award-winning executive producer Colin Barr, and BAFTA-winning director Euros Lyn. Sue Horth is producer and commissioning editors for the BBC are Clare Sillery and Lucy Richer.