reported back in 2009 that Michelle Magorian’s critically acclaimed novel, Just Henry, was being adapted for ITV by Monarch Of The Glen creator Michael Chaplin.
The 90-minute drama started filming in Leeds today and tells the engaging story of one boy’s discovery which alters his family life forever.
17 year old rising star Josh Bolt (represented by Curtis Brown) from Liverpool, who appeared in Nowhere Boy, and is set to appear in the new series of Shameless, leads the cast as the troubled school-boy Henry.
Perry Millward (also Curtis Brown) who recently appeared in Christopher and His Kind, plays his fellow class-mate Paul Jefferies
Charlie May-Clark from Leeds (also Curtis Brown) who starred in the BBC's South Riding, plays Grace, a new student who can’t read but has an exquisite singing voice.
Set in post-Second World War Britain Henry is growing up in a fraught and unsettled household that includes his mother Maureen (Elaine Cassidy), stepfather, Uncle Bill, (Dean Andrews) and his paternal grandmother (Sheila Hancock).
Henry is a troubled young man who suffers bad nightmares which everyone puts down to the aftermath of living through a war and the fact that he’s never really got over his father’s death or his mother’s remarriage.
In his last year of school and about to become an adult Henry’s grandmother has encouraged him to show a disinterest in his education because his father, Joseph Dodge (Stephen Campbell Moore), thought it was a waste of time.
When his father’s war medal for bravery gets posted through the door Henry wants to know more about the circumstances of his father’s death, something his mother has always preferred him not to know too much about.
At school, Henry keeps himself to himself but when he gets a new teacher, Mrs Beaumont (Barbara Flynn), who encourages his passion for film, he slowly starts to see the world differently. She wants him to show more compassion towards his classmate Paul Jeffries (Perry Millward), a very talented writer and the son of a deserter who’s ostracised for that very reason. Together with Grace Ellis (Charlie May-Clark), a new student who can’t read but has an exquisite singing voice, they are tasked with presenting a school project about cinema and are forced to spend time together. That is until Henry’s research leads him to believe that the man who killed his father was none other than Jeffries father!
Whilst visiting his father’s grave a man introduces himself to Henry as his dad – Dodge. Overwhelmed with happiness Henry doesn’t think to question the facts of his death. But things just don’t add up. If Dodge isn’t in that grave who is?
Grace has come to care too much for Henry to let his dad manipulate him and is determined to get to the bottom of the mystery. With the help of Mrs Beaumont she seeks the help of the police but will it be too late for all involved?
Just Henry will be filmed on location in Leeds throughout August and will be scheduled this Christmas on ITV1.