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.


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

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