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English graduate scripts award-winning film

Published: 28 June 2013
Becky Rowley, English graduate

Graduate in English, Becky Rowley, is already making a name for herself in the film world. She co-wrote the script for Elfrida, a 45 minute medieval revenge drama, which won one of the 2013 People’s Choice awards at an event held by the National Student Television Association (NaSTA).

It was acted, filmed and produced by a team of volunteers from Southampton University Students Union TV (SUSU TV) on location at historic sites across the south.

Elfrida is based on the true story of Queen Elfrida of England, wife of King Edgar the Peaceful who reigned between 959-975AD. It is believed she organised and perhaps even committed the murder of her step-son Edward the Martyr so that her ten-year old son, to be known as Ethelred the Unready, would inherit the crown. “At its root, however, I feel it is a tragic love story, explains Becky. “According to the later account of William of Malmesbury, Elfrida was a legendary beauty. When King Edgar learned of this he sent out his henchman to meet her, and ‘offer her marriage (to Edgar) if her beauty were really equal to report.’ Rather sneakily, he proceeded to marry Elfrida himself and lied to the King that she was, in fact, ugly. Eventually Edgar learnt of this betrayal and killed him during a hunt, before promptly marrying Elfrida himself.”

Elfrida won the award for Content Innovation at the awards in London. “It was an absolute joy both to write the script and to go out on location as a production and continuity assistant on set,” Becky says. “Everything that we dreamed up over that miserable wet summer was turned into reality: we asked for and received a massive great medieval castle, horses, falconry, bloodshed, murder, and just a sprinkling of romantic tension, courtesy of myself!” Becky’s co-writer on the project was Kerry Matthews, a graduate of BSc Sports Science in 2012.

After nine months of pre-production, shooting the film took three months. 65 students auditioned for the film's 15 roles. The team raised more than £6,000 to fund the production which was filmed in locations including Allington Castle, Oxford Castle, Ingatestone Hall, and Beaulieu Abbey.

Becky will return to the University of Southampton in the autumn to study an MA in Medieval and Renaissance Culture.

Elfrida promotional poster
Elfrida promotional poster
Elfrida film crew on location
Elfrida film crew on location

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