Dominic Savage's third film won the prestigious Michael Powell Award for Best British Feature Film at the Edinburgh Festival. Part of the Cracking Crime Day, it is BBC ONE's first wholly improvised drama and focuses on the lives of three teenagers sent to a young offenders' institution.
Four relative newcomers star opposite the more familiar faces of Tamzin Outhwaite (EastEnders) and David Morrissey (Clocking Off). Tamzin plays the mother of sensitive and intelligent Dean. They live on a rough housing estate and she's doing everything she can to stop her son going off the rails. When Dean's friend, Charlie-boy, is released from prison, the teenagers are soon up to no good and Dean is arrested for being in a stolen car. David Morrissey plays prison warder, Mike, who takes Dean under his wing. Despite his protection, Dean is bullied by vicious robber, Sam.
Dominic Savage carried out several months of research in the toughest estates and young offenders institutions across the UK. He says: "When you go into these institutions, there are those who need to be aggressive from the off, otherwise they become victims themselves. And there are those, some of whom are as young as 15, who are extremely vulnerable to them. Out of Control is about the criminal mentality, it's about what's going on inside their heads."
Tamzin Outhwaite left Albert Square far behind her for what she described as one of the most disturbing and emotional projects she's ever been involved with. She said: "It's about what's really going on for teenagers and it's about a mother's struggle to ensure her children know right from wrong. She's trying to convince Dean that working at school and getting his head down is going to be the best option, rather than going out, thieving and smoking weed."
Having spent weeks researching the role of Mike, David Morrissey is convinced that it's not the life for him, despite being full of admiration for the officers he shadowed. He said: "Not only do they have to deal with the boys but they also have to deal with the pressure of bureaucracy coming down on them all the time, not to mention the hours they have to work, the conditions they work under, the overcrowding and the constant pressure of being attacked."
Ruth Caleb, the producer of Out of Control, is full of admiration for the youngsters who play the young offenders. "The lads are fantastic. Each of them equally holds their own. Akemnji Ndifornyan (Danny) possesses great composure and sweetness which comes through on screen. Danny Young (Dean) manages to bring great vulnerability to his role. It is a challenging role and he performs it with considerable maturity. Leo Gregory gives a performance alive with raw emotion as Sam."
The cast also includes:
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- Bronson Webb (The Bill, Harry and Cosh, Hope and Glory) as Charlie-boy
- Jamie Foreman (Without Motive, films Elizabeth and Sleepy Hollow) as Jim
- Frank Harper (Second Sight, Other People's Children)