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Lemn Sissay

The Memory of Me

A 70 min imagine... film for BBC One, 2020
BBC Studios

Filmed in Ethiopia, Lancashire and London throughout the publication of Lemn's memoir My Name is Why, this film is the story of the poet brought up in the care system in the North-East of England in the 1970s and 80s. After achieving nationwide success in his twenties, Lemn has spent much of the past few decades trying to piece together his family backstory, in a bid to understand his parents' circumstances in Ethiopia that led to his birth in a Wigan Mother and Babies Home in 1967.

The film features old performance archive of Lemn onstage from the beginning of his career, alongside new recordings of his many poems. Interviewees include Steve Coogan, Benjamin Zephaniah, Dave Haslam, Julie Hesmondhalgh and Linton Kwesi Johnson, as well as many of Lemn's close friends and family members.

"The word “redemptive” is an overused adjective, but I’ll watch precious few stories this year more illustrative of the triumph of the will." The Observer

"Urgent and Intimate" The Evening Standard

"Profoundly Moving" The Daily Telegraph

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