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Against the Law (2017)

Peter Wildeblood's affair with a handsome serviceman he met in Piccadilly during the time homosexuality was a crime and the devastating consequences of their relationship.


Fergus O'Brien


Brian Fillis, Peter Wildeblood (autobiography)
3 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Wildeblood Peter Wildeblood ... Himself (archive footage)
Daniel Mays ... Peter Wildeblood
Richard Gadd ... Eddie McNally
Paul Keating Paul Keating ... Fanny
Mark Edel-Hunt Mark Edel-Hunt ... Edward Montagu
Mark Gatiss ... Dr. Landers
Richard Dillane ... Prosecutor Roberts
Charlie Creed-Miles ... Superintendent Jones
David Robb ... Lord Wolfenden
Josh Collins ... Michael Pitt-Rivers
Daniel Betts ... Defence Rawlinson
Timothy Watson Timothy Watson ... Clerk of Assize
Barney White ... Dan Starling
James Gaddas ... Governor Cockayne
Claire Bond Claire Bond ... Iris


In 1952 journalist Peter Wildeblood, at a time when same-sex was a crime, picks up RAF corporal Eddie McNally, thus beginning a love affair, often conducted through letters. Peter introduces him to Edward, Lord Montagu and the earl's cousin Michael Pitt-Rivers but Peter's love letters to Eddie lead to his arrest and, along with Montagu and Michael he is put on trial . McNally and Johnny Reynolds, another young gay from their circle, are granted immunity if they testify for the prosecution and the three defendants are all jailed. In prison Peter hears about the Wolfenden committee which, partly in response to public sympathy for the harsh treatment of gay men, is seeking to change the law and, on release, bravely and openly gives the committee evidence and advice. Nonetheless it will be a decade before homosexuality is decriminalized. As with Channel 4's treatment of the same case in 2007, 'A Very British Sex Scandal', the drama is intercut with interviews with elderly gay men, who, ... Written by don @ minifie-1

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TV-14 | See all certifications »






Release Date:

26 July 2017 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Forbudt kærlighed See more »

Filming Locations:

England, UK

Company Credits

Production Co:

BBC Studios See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Opening Night Gala: 31st BFI Flare - London LGBT Film Festival 2017. Official selection: Frameline San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival 2017; Amnesty International Human Rights Film Festival Hong Kong 2017; Gaze Film Festival Dublin; Reeling - The Chicago International LGBT Film Festival 2017; Outshine Film Festival Miami 2017; NewFest Film Festival NYC 2017; ImageOut Film Festival Rochester 2017; FICGLB International Film Festival Barcelona 2017; Seoul Pride Film Festival 2017. See more »

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User Reviews

It sounds medieval, but it was England 60 years ago
23 October 2017 | by Red-125See all my reviews

Against the Law (2017) (TV) was directed by Fergus O'Brien. It was shown as a narrative feature, but it's more of a documentary about one gay man--Peter Wildeblood--and the many other gay men who suffered horribly in 1950's England.

Peter Wildeblood appears as himself in archival footage, and is portrayed by Daniel Mays. Gay sex was against the law in England in the 1950's. People went to prison if they were discovered, and sometimes they were given electrical shocks or strong emetics in order to change their sexual orientation. (Hard to believe, but true.)

What made Peter Wildeblood different from other persecuted gay men was that, once he was out of jail, he made gay rights a crusade. (People thought he would slink away and go to Canada or the U.S. That's not what he did.)

This is a difficult picture to watch, because the injustice was so blatant. Wildewood died in 1999, but some of the men who were disciplined and tortured are still alive, and haven't forgotten. It's important to see this movie to remember where we were about gay sex, where we are, and where we hope we'll be in the future.

We saw this movie at the excellent Dryden Theatre at Rochester's George Eastman Museum. It was shown as part of the extraordinary ImageOut, the LGBT Film Festival. It apparently was made for TV, so it will work well on the small screen. This was the movie's East Coast Premiere. It's hard to believe that the people in Rochester were able to see it before people from NYC, Boston, or Philadelphia saw it. My compliments to the ImageOut Programming Committee for bringing this film to Rochester.

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