We got the green light for this project the day before the trial was due to start. Unable to book a local crew in time, I hired a camera I'd never used before, took a train from London to Bolton, and read the manual on the way.
I met all the defendants outside the court and in the evening, I filmed them reacting to the case in the local pub. That became the pattern for the whole trial. During the day, I sat in the reporter's gallery and took extensive notes and in the evenings I filmed with the defendants.
After a couple of days, I had a crew and in the public gallery of the court I recognised Ray Gosling, a remarkable man and an extraordinary reporter, who was there to support the defendants.
With my notes, court reports, and Ray's iconic style, we had the makings of a drama-doc that could highlight what appeared to be little more than the expensive pursuit of an outdated and pointless law.
Although all the defendants were found guilty, their convictions were appealed and over-turned at the European Count of Human Rights.
“…a compelling story” Time Out
“…It was the proudly subjective way the story was told that made it remarkable… …convincingly acted… …startling” Independent on Sunday
Producer | director
Drama doc | current affairs
When seven men from Bolton in Lancashire filmed themselves having homosexual sex - for a bit of fun they said - they had no idea that they were breaking a little-known law that only applied to men.
Sex, Guys and Videotape tells the story of the men's prosecution by Greater Manchester Police and their trial in Bolton. The defendants were filmed during the course of the trial and the proceedings were re-created from extensive notes, observations and court transcripts.
THE TRIAL OF THE BOLTON 7
Sex, Guys and Videotape:
the Trial of the Bolton 7
1 x 58' with Roger Bolton Productions for C4
First transmitted 1998
Presented by Ray Gosling
Casting - Anne Fielden
Costume - Sam Perry
Make up - Lesley Faulkner
Production Design - Richard Drew
Lighting cameraman (studio) - Jim O'Donnell
Location Camera (doc) - Steve Vale, Steve Sands
Location sound - Ian Dorrington
Research - Philip Marlow
Editor - Jonathan Cooke
Assistant Producer - Karen Ruka
Executive Producer - Roger Bolton
Produced and directed by Ian Lilley