BBC ONE is set to screen a new comedy drama inspired by the real-life
adventures of two pigs who notoriously cheated death when they broke
out of a Wiltshire abattoir and spent a week on the run in January 1998.
The Legend of the Tamworth Two, which tells the story
of the pigs Butch and Sundance, is a co-production between Box TV and
Impossible Pictures for BBC ONE.
It stars Kevin Whately (Auf Wiedersehen, Pet), Gerard
Horan (London's Burning), Emma Pierson (Charles
II), Darren Boyd (Kiss Me Kate) and features Alexei
Sayle (Tipping the Velvet) and John Sessions
(The Lost Prince).
Written by Jed Mercurio (Cardiac Arrest, Bodies), the film combines
live action as well as newly developed computer generated animation
overseen by Tim Haines' company Impossible Pictures, whose recent credits
include the BBC's award-winning Walking With Dinosaurs.
Although the production is using real pigs, the same special effects
that have been used to make animals appear to talk in films such as
Cats & Dogs, Stuart Little and Babe are used in this drama.
At the beginning of 1998 two Tamworth pigs escaped from an abattoir
in Malmesbury, Somerset. The story became front-page news not just for
the local paper which broke it, but for national papers as well as television
news programmes across the country.
The Legend of The Tamworth Two is a fictionalised account of what Butch
and Sundance got up after their escape and the attempt to recapture
After the pigs escape from the local abattoir and go on the run into
the neighbouring countryside, the local police become involved as PC
Springfield (Darren Boyd) tries to track them down.
When local journalist Jenny Best (Emma Pierson) writes about their
daring escape, a whole media circus arrives to help in the search.
As the pigs continue to avoid capture, a hairy villain by the name
of Wolf (Kevin Whately) arrives on the scene to snare the pigs and send
them back to the abattoir.
For those who want the pigs saved, it's a race against time to rescue
them from imminent death.
BBC Executive producer Sally Woodward said: "The film tells how the
story of Butch and Sundance became a legend, of how Britain once again
took the under-dog to their hearts - or in this instance, the under-pig
- and in the process briefly made them the most famous fugitives in
"It also shows how contrary human beings are in their relationship
with animals - how we are only too happy to tuck in to a pork chop,
but are outraged when we want to capture a pig that has stolen our heart."
Executive producer Justin Thomson-Glover said: "This film is loosely
based on what the real Butch and Sundance went through, but we have
taken a few liberties with the story - and given the pigs voices."
When the pigs were finally captured, they were bought by a national
newspaper and moved to a rare breeds centre in Kent, where they still
In making this film, the production company used eight real Tamworth
Pigs which were trained and treated under rules overseen by the RSPCA.
No animals were harmed in any way in making the film.
The Legend of the Tamworth Two is directed by Metin Huseyin and was
shot on location in England and on the Isle of Man.
The executive producers are Justin Thomson-Glover (Box TV), Tim Haines
(Impossible Pictures), Sally Woodward (BBC) and Steve Christian (Isle
of Man Film Commission).
The Legend of the Tamworth Two is on BBC ONE on Easter Monday,
12 April 2004, at 6.30pm.
Notes to Editors
BBC Worldwide will also release the drama on video and DVD with additional
features including commentaries with director Metin Huseyin and producers
Sally Woodward and Lynn Horsford.
The Legend of the Tamworth Two will be available to buy on VHS and
DVD from Tuesday 13 April.