Speculation abounded this week after film crews descended on Leamington.

There were trucks outside the Royal Spa Centre and the Town Hall with areas cordoned off for filming from Monday (October 5).

Excitement grew when locals caught sight of Dr Who and Paddington star Peter Capaldi at one of the locations.

Other sightings included an actor sat on a bench wearing a First World War great coat.

Leamington social media groups were awash with speculation about what might be being filmed.

It emerged that the film crews were there to film parts of  a new feature film called Benediction  – which is about the famous First World War poet Siegfried Sassoon.

Peter Capaldi plays the older Sassoon in the film while Dunkirk actor Jack Lowden is playing the poet when he was younger.

The upcoming biographical drama was written by Terence Davies and has been a long time in the making.

Filming was supposed to get underway earlier this year but was put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Filming finally began in September on the American-British project.



Peter Capaldi with his Male Performance in a Comedy Programme award received for The Thick Of It, with Jane Lynch, at the BAFTA television awards.
Peter Capaldi with his Male Performance in a Comedy Programme award received for The Thick Of It, with Jane Lynch, at the BAFTA television awards.

It is being made by Emu Films but BBC Films also has a hand in the feature.

The project has been in process for five years and writer and director Terence Davies has been focusing solely on it since his 2016 Emily Dickinson biopic A Quiet Passion.

The 74-year-old spoke to the broadcast and film news website Deadline about the delays saying: “I’ve never known anything like this in my career, and neither in my life.

“I was born in the last year of World War II so I didn’t experience that, and in the 1950s there were major flu epidemics but I was only a young boy.”

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He added: “This is genuinely unprecedented because it’s not only national, it’s global. We are in uncharted waters.

“It has been five years of working to get this film to the point of shooting. And then this.

“What has been wonderful is the amount of support from the cast, crew and financiers.

“It was a blow when we couldn’t go ahead but when people are dying that obviously needs to come before entertainment.

Siegfried Sassoon



Siegfried Sassoon
Siegfried Sassoon

Siegfried Sassoon (1886–1967) was an English poet, writer, and soldier.

Decorated for bravery on the Western Front, he became one of the leading poets of the First World War. His poetry both described the horrors of the trenches and satirised the patriotic pretensions of those who, in Sassoon’s view, were responsible for a jingoism-fuelled war.

Sassoon became a focal point for dissent within the armed forces when he made a lone protest against the continuation of the war in his ‘Soldier’s Declaration’ of 1917, culminating in his admission to a military psychiatric hospital.

This resulted in his forming a friendship with Wilfred Owen, who was greatly influenced by him. Sassoon later won acclaim for his prose work, notably his three-volume fictionalised autobiography, collectively known as the ‘Sherston trilogy’.

Sassoon’s poetry is now a staple on UK school curriculums.

Benediction follows Sassoon’s acts on the battlefields where he earned the nickname ‘Mad Jack’ before his poetry sees him almost court-martialed by the army.





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