The Ilkley Literature Festival, a chance to meet authors and publishers, to discuss new works and classics, to relax in the historic West Yorkshire town in the company of like-minded fellows, enjoy the architecture and perhaps even take in the crisp October air with a walk on the famous Ilkley Moor; with so much going on, it would be a shame to let a murder spoil it.
It’s not the weekend that brothers Vic and Tim planned, sent to Ilkley by Father Enoch, their guardian since they were orphaned, who raised them in the church under the maxim of “spare the rod, spoil the child.” His commandment was simple: kill Professor Bill Huxley, the controversial and confrontational militant atheist who is appearing at the festival with his latest polemic God Awful and taking no prisoners.
Of course, had the man who Vic strangled and threw from a cliff face actually been Professor Huxley they could just have gone home, but it was an unfortunate case of mistaken identity, and now Father Enoch is on his way, full of Holy wrath, the police are involved in the form of the DCI Brough, a woman with the tact of a guillotine, and Huxley’s talk is still going ahead.
Directed by Harry Michell from a script co-written with Jamie Fraser, Say Your Prayers is a low-budget British comedy of two traumatised and vulnerable brothers devoted to each other, the Lord and their benefactor, one of them conspicuously less deserving, Vic and Tim checked into the Lamb Hotel as the unwitting sacrifice in Father Enoch’s crusade.
Of the brothers it is Vic (Preacher‘s Tom Brooke) who has the temper but neither of them has the brains, though Tim (The War of the Worlds‘ Harry Melling) is at least open minded, the kindness of festival guest coordinator Imelda (Doctor Who‘s Vinette Robinson) a concept he is unaccustomed to from Father Enoch (Good Omens’ Derek Jacobi) to whom charity and forgiveness are subjects for sermons, not practice.
Will a single friendship be enough to dissuade Tim from martyring Huxley? An amalgam of the worst traits of Dawkins and Hitchens without humility or empathy, Huxley may make the case for atheism but not for humanity or himself, Say Your Prayers rooted firmly in the cynical rather than the comforting, the pratfalls and laughter never distracting from the truth that regardless of their actions Tim and Vic were victims of the church long before their arrival at Ilkley.
Say Your Prayers will be released on demand 28th September by Central City Media