Thursday, 20 October 2016

Dennis Skinner: Nature of the Beast, a documentary

Open Letter by Christie Allanson to SWPE activists and supporters


We have made a documentary about Socialist legend Dennis Skinner! With his consent we have spent the last two years following him to events, meeting up for lengthy interviews, and editing every minute we have spare to get this film done. (As independent filmmakers, we both hold down other jobs.)

Made on a shoestring from some kind donations and a lot of perseverance, we have now reached a point where we have launched a Kickstarter to pay for, mostly, very expensive news footage. No-one involved in making the film is making any money. The Kickstarter ends in 19 days. (

If we don't raise this money we have no idea if this film will ever see the light of day. I am contacting you in the sincere hope that you could give us a column inch, or an online mention, to please help boost our campaign and reach our target. Even a tweet!

We really are desperate for any help! A film about this legend needed to be made, and now there is an audience waiting for this film.

Thank you for anything you can do. In solidarity,

Press Release
Dennis Skinner: Nature of The Beast
A documentary

Nature of The Beast is the result of two years hard work by a small group of committed independent filmmakers in Liverpool.

Director Daniel Draper, already a supporter of socialist politician Dennis Skinner, had the idea for the documentary after interviewing Dennis for a previous project. With Dennis on board, the small team was assembled including his producing partner and editor Christie Allanson, and friend and DOP Allan Melia. Filming began around the country, funded out of their own pockets and donations from the public.

Being independent and raising the money in this fashion does have its benefits - we were able to construct our narrative and tell Dennis’s story in the way we wanted. This artistic freedom has enabled us to create a film with complete freedom, without worrying about mainstream concerns, which may have held our narrative back if we were backed by a corporation or broadcaster.

The film follows Dennis from early years to modern day - his entry into politics, his high and low points, his rebellions against the party, whilst naturally highlighting the wit and passion that has earned him the nickname ‘The Beast of Bolsover’. Woven in to this narrative are more personal moments; Dennis’s schoolboy cross-country days, his love of musicals and the outdoors, his relationship with his family. Interviews with his four remaining brothers and some of his Bolsover constituents pepper the film and help reveal the unseen side of the man.

Dennis Skinner is often daubed as a “left-wing firebrand” and that is his attraction for many people. His unending passion and commitment to fight for the working class, to fight for the miners, to fight for the under-privileged is something to be respected. But there is more to this left-winger than the media portrays. Unwelcome on live TV, Dennis Skinner doesn’t mince his words, and this documentary is a personal portrait of one of the country’s most famous politicians.

Having finished principle photography, the team now need to raise the funds to pay for archive footage, images, and post-production sound. A Kickstarter campaign is being launched on the 24th September and will run for 35 days - and we hope to raise the £18,000 needed to complete the film. After two years of graft on a shoestring budget, and crew working for free, the money is needed now to pay for necessary post-production costs and to complete and release the film.

More information can be found at, by searching for the film on Facebook, or by following @DSkinnerFilm on Twitter.

Dennis Skinner is a man who has fought against the system from within.  He is a man of principle who - like Tony Benn - is an example of good indigenous homegrown Socialism. 

His voting record shows that except for a couple of issues (his anti-borders stance), he has a lot in common with us.  His record in detail can be found at:

This film deserves our support.  As Christie says, even a Tweet will help!  So come on, get plugging away and give this film a chance.

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