Boys from the Blackshirts

In the controversial new drama series Mosley the British fascist leader is more rock icon than politician. His son NICHOLAS MOSLEY is prepared for outrage.

Words Peter Ross

Ask someone what they know about ()swald Mosley and. at best. they'll probably say he led Britain's fascist movement in the I‘)3()s. But sit them down in front of .lIos/ey. ('hannel 4‘s new drama series. and they‘ll stagger away from the screen burbling about ‘meteoric political rise' and ‘sex with ey'ery society girl iii Britain'.

('hattnel 4 has goose-stepped into cotilroy'ersy with a series about Britain's most infamous Blackshirt. Perhaps it has dodged the flak slightly by enlisting a Jewish creatiy'e team writers Laurence Marks and Maurice (iran of Birds ()f/l Feather fame. and producer lry‘ing 'l‘eitelbaum but the on-screen Mosley is no one-dimensional hate-monger and this is no four-episode polemic.

Sure. the series rey'eals a man with no loyalty. abhorrent ideology and staggering arrogance. but. hell. he has sly/e. We see him as Britain's youngest Ml’ haranguing dusty elder statesmen. crossing the floor to Labour to giy'e passionate speeches on socialist reform. and haying it away with what seems to be ey'ery woman he meets. This is fascism as pop culture. this is racial hatred as showbil. This ain't genocide; [his is rock ‘n‘ roll.

"My mm was

The series is largely 313(5333‘3953‘ adapted from Nicholas

Mosleys two biographies of his lather and he also acted as consultant during shooting. lle anticipates outrage w hen .lIm/t'y hits our screens.

‘It will iney‘itably be controy'ersial my father was a controy'ersial figure.‘ the 74-year-old says. ‘l’eople haye such strong feelings about his public

role that they don't really care about the other side of

the question. This series will be a real eye-opener. It will tell people about the good. the bad and the risky things about his character. Some will be fascinated to

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Sex and fascism and rock 'n’ roll: Jonathan Cake as Mosley

learn his story. btit others will cling to the demon picture of him and won‘t like that challenged at all.‘

Nicholas Mosley. who joined the British army and fought fascism in Italy during World War II. had a difficult relationship with the father who died in l‘lb’ll. haying disinherited him. Loying him as a father. btit despising the politics. Nicholas still admires Mosley ‘s personal and political energies: ‘He was an idealist. a Visionary. a one-man band who went charging through ey‘ery'thing. lie was a tttaryellous speaker. a titai'y'ellotts charmer and ideas came pouring otit of him. I would call him a buccaneer.‘

This yerye made Mosley an enjoyable role for Jonathan (‘ake. who plays him with immense charistna iii the series.

‘There were all these ridiculous rallies where l marched up 50 steps and saw loads of faces looking up at me.‘ says (‘ake. ‘There are drums and searchlights and I was jtist so tempted to say “Hello \Vettibleyl :\re you ready to rock?“ It‘s the closest l'll ey er get to being a naff rock star.

‘But is an

[his series

spotting potentially danger- ous extremists like Mosley. we‘y'e got to understand where they come from and the political context which makes them flourish. It's important to study these people to ayoid it happening again.‘

.lIm/t'y is a serious drama which doesn‘t shy away from the tough issues or deal with them drily'. Proyocatiy'e btit entertaining. hard hitting and absolutely gripping you owe it to history to watch.

Mosley begins on Channel 4, Thu 12 Feb, 9pm.

important. instructiye story. If w e’re to stand a hope of

Edinburgh-based journalist Trevor Grundy was raised to regard Oswald Mosley as a god, but he rejected fascism in 1959 and has published an account of his upbringing. Here, he talks about his incredible childhood.

’I have shown Mosley from the point of view of people who worshipped him. My mother got him very badly muddled up with Jesus Christ.

‘I was brought up believing Adolf Hitler was a great man. In the mid- SOs we'd get visits from the children of the top Nazis. l was a speaker for Mosley's Union Movement and addressed a rally at Trafalgar Square when l was seventeen.

'Meeting Mosley was like meeting the greatest hero of all time, but in my twenties I started seeing him differently. I got very friendly with his son Alexander and saw another side of him: the upper-class playboy remote from ordinary people. That turned me off very quickly.

’lt’s difficult to say whether I regret it all. I wish it hadn't happened, but it did, and you just have to live with it. I had a very confused childhood and didn’t realise how remote I was from my peers. When most kids were off with girlfriends and dancing to Elvis Presley, l was screaming my lungs out on a platform at Paddington.

'I blame my parents. But my mother was a terribly tragic figure because it turned out she was Jewish, which I didn't find out until I was 50. When I was told, it was like being handed a pinless hand grenade.

’Now I see the things that motivated my mother and father, and it's a huge relief that I've managed to work out what happened to me. Hopefully, I can live what I've got left of my life constructively.’

Memo/r Of A Fast/st Childhood by Trevor Gromly; published by HL’II)(.’IT)d/lli, [77 99

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