Families of Sir Nicholas Winton’s kinder invited to recreate TV history
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Families of Sir Nicholas Winton’s kinder invited to recreate TV history

Makers of a film about the Holocaust hero are set to recreate the BBC1 scene where he came face to face with those he helped rescue – inviting their relatives to take part.

Justin Cohen is the News Editor at the Jewish News

February 1988: This was the audience that cheated death. This was the audience who as infants were marked for Auschwitz or Theresienstadt or Belsen. These were the mothers, fathers and grandparents of more than 6,000 people alive today thanks to the unassuming man in the front row of a television studio, looking slightly embarrassed by all the fuss.
February 1988: This was the audience that cheated death. This was the audience who as infants were marked for Auschwitz or Theresienstadt or Belsen. These were the mothers, fathers and grandparents of more than 6,000 people alive today thanks to the unassuming man in the front row of a television studio, looking slightly embarrassed by all the fuss.

The makers of a film about Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton are set to recreate the television scene where he came face to face with dozens of children he helped to rescue – and are inviting their relatives to take part.

The 1988 episode of That’s Life! in which Esther Rantzen asked anyone in the audience who was among the 669 children that he helped bring to the UK from Czechoslovakia to identify themselves, and the entire audience stood up, has become one of the most celebrated moments in BBC history.

Winton had not spoken publicly of his pre-war exploits, which included finding sponsor families, but it was the discovery of a scrapbook containing the names of the rescued children that led to the BBC tracking them down and the unexpected on-air reunion.

Now, as part of a theatrical feature length film covering Winton’s heroic story, See-Saw Films will recreate that emotional scene, only this time with the seats surrounding Winton filled by the children and grandchildren of those whose lives were saved 80 years ago.

Sir Nicholas Winton was the architect of the Kindertransport

Producer Joanna Laurie from See-Saw Film, which also produced The King’s Speech, said: “We feel privileged to be able to tell the powerful, emotional story of how Nicholas Winton and others helped to save the lives of so many children, a lot of them Jewish, during the Prague evacuations.

“At See-Saw, whenever we set out to make a film we hope to bring stories to audiences that have something to say about the world. Our film will be a timely reminder of how we and future generations must constantly renew our commitment to human rights. When we stage the recreation of the That’s Life! TV show reunion, it would be very special to reach and welcome many of Nicky’s children and their descendants to take part as audience members.”

In the film, which is unlikely to be released until 2024, Sir Nicholas will be played by Sir Anthony Hopkins and Johnny Flynn, who recently played Ian Fleming in Operation Mincemeat.

Winton, who served as an ambulance driver during the War before joining the RAF, never lost his sense of modesty despite being honoured in both the UK and Czech Republic. He once said of his actions: “Why are you making such a big deal out of it? I just helped a little. I was in the right place at the right time.” He died at the age of 106, after which Jewish News led a successful campaign for him to be remembered with a Royal Mail stamp.

To express interest in taking part please email familyofnickywinton@gmail.com 

 

 

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