When it first aired in 2014, the BBC’s feature-length drama Marvellous received rave reviews. It also won a ton of awards, including the BAFTA for Best Single Drama. The 90-minute TV movie is the work of screenwriter Peter Bowker (who’s since gone on to write The A Word), and it’s based on the true story of Neil Baldwin – played on screen by Toby Jones.
Here are the people you’ll meet in the drama, and the actors who play them:
Toby Jones plays Neil Baldwin
Who is Neil Baldwin? Now 74, Neil Baldwin (right) has led an extraordinary life. Born in Newcastle-under-Lyme and diagnosed with a learning disability as a child, he left school at 16 and joined the circus as Nello the Clown. Neil went on to work for Stoke City Football Club as a “kit man”, and he has also been adopted as a part of the Keele University community – with honorary life membership of the student union, and an honorary degree. A naturally gregarious man with a love of the Church of England and football, he has friends everywhere – from archbishops to famous footballers.
What else has Toby Jones been in? Toby Jones is a prolific actor. Recent years have seen him voice the Librarian in The Dark Crystal, star in comedy series Don’t Forget the Driver, and play Lance in Detectorists. You may also have seen him in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (as Mr Eversoll), Atomic Blonde (as Eric Gray), the Captain America movies (as Dr Arnim Zola), The Hunger Games (as Claudius Templesmith), or Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (as Percy Alleline). He also appeared in an episode of Doctor Who as Dream Lord, and voiced Dobby in Harry Potter.
Gemma Jones plays Mary Baldwin
Who is Mary Baldwin? Neil’s mother. She was devoted to her son, supporting him emotionally and practically throughout her life. Neil lived with her until a few years before her death, which came in 2003.
What else has Gemma Jones been in? In an acting career stretching back to the early 1960s, Gemma Jones has notched up almost 120 screen credits. She was Mrs Dashwood in the classic adaptation of Sense and Sensibility, Aunt Anne Lister in Gentleman Jack, Ivy in Rocketman, Claire Slater in Unforgotten series 1, Madam Pomfrey in the Harry Potter movies, Connie James in Spooks, and Bridget’s mum in the Bridget Jones movies. In 2015, she won a Bafta award for her performance in as Mary in this drama (Marvellous), taking home the gong for Best Supporting Actress.
Tony Curran plays Lou Macari
Who is Lou Macari? A Scottish former footballer, former manager, and pundit (pictured right). He managed Stoke City from 1991 to 1993 and then, after a short spell at Celtic, again from 1994 to 1997. At Stoke, he was tasked with turning around the fortunes of the club. He was also the one who appointed Neil Baldwin as the team’s kit-man, later describing him as “the best signing I ever made.”
What else has Tony Curran been in? The actor, who is Scottish, has appeared in TV shows and movies including SEAL Team, Ray Donovan, Outlaw King, The Looming Tower, Crazyhead, Roots (the 2016 one), Daredevil, Defiance, Sons of Anarchy, and 24. Doctor Who fans will remember his emotional performance as the painter Vincent van Gogh in 2010.
Nicholas Gleaves plays Reverend Mark
Who is Reverend Mark? The leader of Neil’s local flock. He is always on hand to provide guidance and practical support (often in the form of a lift).
What else has Nicholas Gleaves been in? English actor Nicholas Gleaves is a well-known face on TV, with stints in Coronation Street (as Duncan Radfield), The Demon Headmaster (as the eponymous Headmaster), Bodyguard (as Roger), Waterloo Road, Scott & Bailey, Cold Feet, and Public Enemies. On the big screen, he played Guterman in the 2019 movie Spider-Man: Far from Home, and Dr Robert Freedman in Demi Moore movie Half Light.
Greg McHugh plays Malcolm Clarke
Who is Malcolm? Neil’s friend and fellow Stoke supporter, who he meets at Keele.
What else has Greg McHugh been in? The Scottish actor has recently played Eddie Scott in The A Word (also by Marvellous screenwriter Peter Bowker), David Hennessey in Traitors, Hamish in A Discovery of Witches, and Howard in Fresh Meat. He is the creator, writer and star of Scottish sitcom Gary Tank Commander (aka Gary’s War).
Marvellous also stars…
- Gary Lineker (as himself)
- Uriah Rennie (as himself)
- Norman Barrett MBE (as himself)
- Lou Macari (as himself)
- Neil Baldwin (as himself)
2014 drama Marvellous will air again on BBC Two on Wednesday 1st July at 9pm. Check out what else is on with our TV Guide.