“Judy put my name in the hat for James Bond – so hold tight for that”: Bally Gill on Allelujah
Allelujah is an adaptation of the 2018 stage play by Alan Bennett (The Madness of King George), based on a screenplay by Heidi Thomas (Call the Midwife) and directed by Richard Eyre (Notes on a Scandal, Iris). It takes as its setting a geriatric ward in a small Yorkshire hospital threatened with closure – but the hospital decides to bring together the local community to fight back. They ask for donations and invite a news crew to film patients and staff as they prepare for a concert in honour of the hospital’s head nurse, Sister Gilpin, capturing the instances of joy they share, despite the tough daily challenges they face.
A supremely British story led by a supremely British cast, Allelujah features Jennifer Saunders (Absolutely Fabulous) in an uncharacteristic dramatic role, as well as veterans of the screen and stage Judi Dench (Notes on a Scandal, Iris), Derek Jacobi (I Claudius, Frasier) and David Bradley (Harry Potter, Game of Thrones), alongside newcomer Bally Gill, Russell Tovey (The History Boys) and Julia McKenzie (Cranford, Marple).
While the premise may be a tragic one (lamenting the criminal under-resourcing of the NHS and the fact that the elderly in our ever-ageing society are often forgotten) and there’s a twist later in the story has proved divisive amongst viewers, the film still full of heartwarming moments that are a reminder of our humanity and the importance of community and caring for others.
The Upcoming had the chance to chat with Gill ahead of the DVD release about preparing to take on the role of Dr Valentine, including how to nail his British Indian accent, the experience of working alongside his star-studded cast, and what he thinks the key themes and takeaways from the story are.
Allelujah is released nationwide on 17th March 2023 and on DVD on 29th May 2023. Read our review here.
Watch the trailer for Allelujah here: