A FILM producer from Didcot has been working with former Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe on a prison break thriller.

Escape from Pretoria is the true story of Tim Jenkin and Stephen Lee’s imprisonment and escape during South Africa’s apartheid era.

Daniel Radcliffe stars as Tim Jenkin, a real-life ANC activist who, along with Stephen Lee, played by Daniel Webber, were branded terrorists, and imprisoned in South Africa’s maximum-security Pretoria prison - the white man’s Robben Island.

Oxford Mail:

With Lee and fellow freedom fighter Leonard, played by Mark Leonard Winter, Tim made a complex and daring escape 18 months into his incarceration using nothing but hand-crafted wooden keys.

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December 11 last year marked 40 years to the day since their audacious escape.

Escape from Pretoria, based on the biography by Tim Jenkin, also stars Ian Hart (Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone) and Stephen Hunter (The Hobbit Trilogy).

The film is directed and co-written by Francis Annan and produced by Mark Blaney (This is Not a Love Song, Africa United), Jackie Sheppard (Africa United) and David Barron (Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella, Harry Potter).

Ms Sheppard, who has lived in Didcot since 1994, and worked on the Africa United movie in 2010, said she was delighted to work with Daniel Radcliffe and other actors in the movie including Ian Hart. She said: “The film cost about £6m to make and was shot in Australia.

Oxford Mail:

“Ninety per cent of the action takes place in a prison and scenes were shot in an old car factory just outside Adelaide last year. The movie will be shown in a small number of cinemas across the UK and then people will be able to watch it on demand.

“I work for a film company that wants to tell stories about people that make a difference.

“Tim Jenkin and Stephen Lee went on the run for a long time and eventually they were pardoned.

Oxford Mail:

“Daniel Radcliffe is a very nice guy, very gracious and very aware of the opportunities Harry Potter has afforded him.”

Signature Entertainment presents Escape from Pretoria at cinemas from March 6.

There will be a special screening at the Abbey Cinema in Abingdon on March 5.