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29 October 2014
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May 33rd - a film by Guy Hibbert for BBC ONE

In Guy Hibbert's film May 33rd, Lia Williams stars as Ella, a young woman whose disturbing and tortured upbringing forces her into a living nightmare.

The film is an exploration of the consequences of repeated ritual abuse as seen through the eyes of a young woman whose personality has fragmented into five different people.

A fictional drama based on extensive research, May 33rd follows Guy Hibbert's previous film No Child Of Mine, a true story about child prostitution and abuse, supported by child protection agencies, which caused much controversy when it was screened in 1996.

It is directed by David Attwood (Fidel!) and produced by Hilary Bevan Jones (State of Play) for BBC ONE.

While trying to escape her family - a small group of relatives and their friends who have abused her since childhood - Ella visits an osteopath to relieve the pains in her body.

When Edward (Soren Byder) applies pressure to certain parts of Ella's body, it triggers her into different personalities.

Through Ella and her other identities the drama explores the chilling and shocking condition Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder, which is a condition associated with ritual abuse.

Writer Guy Hibbert says: "Five years after writing No Child Of Mine, I learnt of the condition of Dissociative Identity Disorder and the real life cases of young women from all over the UK who had suffered from it as a result of ritual abuse.

"The research led me to professionals working in this field and the victims of this horrific cruelty."

He continues: "One of my reasons for writing this drama is to encourage a greater understanding of both the condition of Dissociative Identity Disorder and its causes.

"Through my research I discovered that because these causes are so cruel, society prefers to disbelieve the victims because it cannot cope with the truth."

Producer Hilary Bevan Jones says: "This story describes a personal nightmare. As Ella herself says, 'It's like living in a world that doesn't exist in anyone else's world, like it's May 33rd or something and everyone else is in the real day'."

Jane Tranter, Controller of Drama Commissioning, says: "May 33rd is a bold and subtle exploration of a condition that affects many women in the UK yet remains shrouded in mystery and fear.

"It follows dramas such as Care, Out Of Control and England Expects – risky films which examine contemporary issues in an uncompromising way."

May 33rd is an Endor production for BBC ONE. The executive producers are Guy Hibbert and Julie Gardner, Head of Drama, BBC Wales.

Notes to Editors

Dissociation is a mental process, which produces a lack of connection in a person's thoughts, memories, feelings, actions, or sense of identity.

Dissociative disorders are often referred to as a highly creative survival technique because they allow individuals enduring 'hopeless' circumstances to preserve some areas of healthy functioning.

Over time, however, with a child who has been repeatedly physically and sexually assaulted, defensive dissociation becomes reinforced and conditioned.

Repeated dissociation may result in a series of separate entities, or mental states, which may eventually take on identities of their own. These entities may become the internal 'personality states' of a DID system.

For more information about dissociative disorders, visit the Sidran Foundation website -

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