Film: Amazing Grace on London Live Saturday 1 August, 10pm feat Benedict Cumberbatch, and @DavidGArnold’s music

This post has been updated to reflect the new broadcast date. Amazing Grace was also shown on Thursday 30 July.

Set in the late 1700s in England, Amazing Grace (2006) tells the story of William Wilberforce (Ioan Gruffud), his friendship with William Pitt (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Barbara Spooner (Romola Garai), and their involvement in the campaign to abolish the slave trade. The music for the film was composed by David Arnold who currently co-composes (with Michael Price) the music for the BBC’s Sherlock… which also stars Benedict Cumberbatch.

Amazing Grace Saturday 1 August, 10pm, London Live (Freeview 8, Sky 117, Virgin 159, YouView 8)

Amazon has a nice review (from 2011) of David’s score for Amazing Grace

“David Arnold’s score for Amazing Grace is nothing short of extraordinary. Although known for his more bombastic scores such as Independence Day, Godzilla and the James Bond franchise, this shows Arnold’s writing in a completely different light. This album contains no fast action cues, instead utilising the orchestra and choir to produce beautiful and harmonic melodies which are a delight to listen to.”

According to IMDb the 2011 film Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy re-unites Cumberbatch with two other actors from Amazing Grace (Ciarán Hinds and Toby Jones). That film also happens to be showing at the Barbican on 30 August as part of “A (Cumber) batch of Benedict”, which is a sort of Cumberbatch-fest to celebrate his role in the play Hamlet. [Tickets and info for Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy at the Barbican].

Of course the Barbican is showing some of the Sherlock series too. On 6 August they’re screening all the ‘episode 3’ cliffhanger episodes from each of the three series [tickets and info for Sherlock the Cliffhangers].

Incidentally, both characters played by Benedict Cumberbatch (William Pitt the Younger in Amazing Grace and Sherlock Holmes in Sherlock) had addresses on Baker Street, London. Pitt lived at 120 Baker Street and the fictional detective lived at the also-fictional 221B Baker Street, 100 years (and 100 doors) apart.

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Picture credits: Pitt’s blue plaque by Nick Harrison, Holmes’ blue plaque also by Nick Harrison,

Recently David Arnold was interviewed at the Prince Charles Cinema before a screening of Casino Royale (for which he wrote the music) and he was asked, as part of a quick-fire round of questions at the end,  “Benedict Cumberbatch or Martin Freeman?” to which he gave the reply below (you can read the full interview here).

“That’s cruel. I think Martin’s the heart and Benedict’s the brains of that combination, I think without either of them that show wouldn’t work. Martin is the way into Sherlock and I think the audience wouldn’t find their way in without him; I think he brings so much humanity to that, it’s absolutely extraordinary. The pair of them are rock stars now, it’s amazing. So I plead the fifth: both of them. They’re both brilliant.”

See also #Sherlock music @RoyalAlbertHall Prom, and the @BarbicanCentre screens all the Episode 3 cliffhangers

#Sherlock music @RoyalAlbertHall Prom, and the @BarbicanCentre screens all the Episode 3 cliffhangers

1) A (Cumber) Batch of Benedict: Sherlock – The Cliffhangers (12A)

benedicteps36pm, Thursday 13 August 2015
Cinema 1
[More info] Look for the green button on the top right of that page to book tickets.

In August the Barbican Centre is having a bit of a Benedict Cumberbatch-fest “A (Cumber) Batch of Benedict” with a whole load of screenings of films that he’s been in.

Delightfully this includes all the #Sherlock ‘E3’ cliffhangers (the final episode of each of the three series) in one massive session (with a 15m interval between The Reichenbach Fall and His Last Vow. There’s the fantastic music from David Arnold and Michael Price and if you’ve not seen Sherlock on the big screen I definitely recommend going along. More information and tickets for the Sherlock screenings.

That’s happening on Thursday 13th August at 6pm and they’re screening the following three episodes

The Great Game (Sherlock Season 1, Episode 3)  
Sherlock is sucked into an evil genius’s twisted game and so begins an epic battle of wits that tests our detective’s skills to the limit.

The Reichenbach Fall (Sherlock Season 2, Episode 3)
The Sherlock and Moriarty showdown. One of the greatest ends to a series. Ever.

His Last Vow (Sherlock Season 3, Episode 3)
The Great Detective’s softer side comes to the fore in this explosive finale to Season 3. Entangled in the web of a creepy media mogul, Sherlock must decide where his loyalties lie and how much he’s willing to sacrifice for those he loves.

More information and tickets for the Sherlock screenings.

More information about the other Benedict Cumberbatch screenings, including Hawking and Star Trek: Into Darkness

2) Sherlock Holmes: A musical mind – Prom 41

Proms Pano

Proms Pano by Steve Bowbrick (@bowbrick)

The Royal Albert Hall is presenting a Sherlock Holmes prom with music from several of the on-screen depictions of Conan Doyle’s detective. This includes the BBC’s updated version, with music by David Arnold and Michael Price as before, but this time you get to hear it performed live by an orchestra. In the Royal Albert Hall. You have my word that this is going to be amazing 🙂 Also Mark Gatiss is one of the special guests.

BBC Proms presents… Prom 41: Sherlock Holmes – A Musical Mind
Sunday 16 August 2015
Doors: 2:45pm
Starts: 3:30pm

You can book seated advanced tickets for everywhere in the main hall except the standing-only ground-level Arena and the Gallery at the top of the Hall as that’s where the £5 on-the-day-tickets will be sold. As there are around 1,350 of these tickets there’s a pretty good chance you’ll get one, you just need to turn up about three hours before the concert and wear comfy shoes. (Remember that they take the seats out of the Arena so you will be standing for the full concert, you probably won’t need to queue for an additional three hours though). More about ‘on the day’ promming here http://www.royalalberthall.com/tickets/proms/2015/day-promming/

Incidentally following Arthur Conan Doyle’s death the Royal Albert Hall held a séance for him…

In this recording made 85 years ago on 14 May 1930 you can hear Arthur Conan Doyle talking briefly about the origins of Sherlock Holmes before discussing his own (ACD’s) enthusiasm for spiritualism. He died a few weeks after this recording was made and, according to this article, following his death “… a séance was conducted at the Royal Albert Hall. Thousands attended, including his wife and children. A row of chairs were arranged on the stage for the family, with one left empty for Sir Arthur. Even though he did not appear, there were many people in the audience who claimed they had felt his presence among them.”

More information and tickets for the Sherlock Holmes prom.


A couple of years ago I queued for tickets on the day, my experience of it was fantastic – can’t guarantee they’ll have the same system in place so don’t rely on how it was for me, but here’s how it was for me 🙂

I turned up on the day, was given a numbered cloakroom ticket (this is not the real ticket, these are free and just reserve your place in the real queue for the real tickets) from a steward and found out when I needed to get into the official queue. Then I wandered across the road (to the Royal College of Music) to a radio recording of a Prom interview until that time and then returned, slotting myself into the queue according to the number on my cloakroom ticket. It was very clever and effective.


Independence Day, on Independence Day @ThePCCLondon, music by @DavidGArnold

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This Saturday 4th July the Prince Charles Cinema in Leicester Square will be showing Independence Day which is jolly good fun and also has amazing music from David Arnold. The film starts at 8.45pm and tickets are £11 or £8.50 if you’re a member. Click on the picture above to buy tickets.

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