Albert Pierrepoint delivered groceries - and was a hangman. Following in his father's footsteps he quickly became known for his efficiency and compassion, rising to become 'the best in the land'. From early 1933, until the end of his career in 1955, he executed 608 people, including the 'Beasts of Belsen' (war criminals), for which he earned the gratitude of a nation. But by the time he hanged Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be executed in Britain, public sentiments had changed... and so had Pierrepoint.Written by
Despite the title Pierrepoint was not Britain's last hangman. He retired in the mid 1950s, shortly after executing Ruth Ellis - (see Dance with a Stranger (1985)). Britain never had a "last hangman", as the last two executions before suspension of capital punishment were carried out in different cities at the same time. As the last two people executed were both guilty of the murder of John West, it was decided to carry out sentence at the same time in Aug 1964. In Nov 1965, people were still being sentenced to death. See more »
Albert Pierrepoint did not execute Dorothea Waddingham. This was performed by his uncle, Thomas Pierrepoint in 1936. See more »
It's not been easy. I've got things in here too
[points at head]
that I'd rather they weren't there. Oh, aye. I can keep them at bay, yeah. But they're waiting for me. Waiting for me to let my guard down. Waiting all the bloody time they are.
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Other writers have outlined what this film is about - Albert Pierrepoint, Britain's last hangman - so I shan't repeat a synopsis. The subject matter of the film is very dark, but what humanises it are the great performances from Juliet Stevenson and especially Tim Spall. The 8 is for the quality of the acting and the film is well worth seeking out for this alone.
I've not seen many reviews of the film so I hope you will forgive me if I post details of one: