"Next came Fraud, and he had on,
Like Eldon, an ermined gown;
His big tears, for he wept well,
Turned to mill-stones as they fell."
Rory Kinnear plays Henry "Orator" Hunt (1773–1835), the radical political reformer who advocated universal suffrage and annual parliaments. The decision to send in the Yeomanry (local volunteer troops) and regular troops on horseback, armed with sabres and clubs, to arrest Hunt resulted in the injuries and deaths. The name Peterloo was an allusion to the recent Battle of Waterloo. The war had resulted in famine and unemployment – another factor that fuelled the anger of the protestors.
After the Peterloo Massacre campaigners like Manchester, cotton manufacturer John Shuttleworth (1786–1864) petitioned the government to set up an independent inquiry into the day's events. The demands were rejected by the Tory government.
"Mike Leigh's film is going to be a powerful way of telling the story of a chapter of history that is woven into the DNA of Manchester, but which has relevance both nationally and internationally."
She added: "Maxine Peake, one of Manchester Histories' patrons and a passionate supporter of the memorials that take place each year to honour those who lost their lives in the massacre, stars in the film and Dr Robert Poole, a leading historian on the subject of Peterloo and someone we have worked with extensively, has consulted on the project; the input of such individuals combined with what Mike Leigh himself will bring, means this is a film that we await with excited anticipation."
Mike Leigh was born on February 20, 1943 in Salford, Greater Manchester most recent film Mr Turner, focused on the artist J. M. W. Turner (1775–1851).
Mike Leigh, quoted on the Film4 website, said:
'"There has never been a feature film about the Peterloo Massacre. The universal significance of this historic event becomes ever more relevant in our own turbulent times."
Amazon Studios is co-financier and US distributor, with additional finance coming from Film4, who backed the film's development, along with the BFI, and Lipsync.
The film will also star Salford-born Pearce Quigley (Detectorists), Philip Jackson, (Brassed Off, My Week with Marilyn), Tim McInnerny (Notting Hill, Blackadder) and David Moorst (Grantchester).
Locations for filming have included the East Midlands cathedral city of Lincoln - in the Bailgate area near the castle and cathedral.