Guernsey Press

Film to tell story of Sark’s Olympic gold medallist

One of the Bailiwick’s most famous sportsmen is to have a film made of his life story by a pair of veteran UK producers.

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Hester helped win Team GB win team gold in the dressage at London 2012. (Picture from PA Images)

Stride will tell the true story of Olympics dressage gold medal winner Carl Hester, charting his life from growing up in a single parent family in Sark to becoming what the film-makers describe as ‘arguably the greatest dressage rider, trainer and owner of all time’.

News of the project broke in an exclusive article in entertainment magazine Variety, which said that the UK producers Drew Curtis and Richard Conway were attached to the project.

Mr Hester spoke about the film during the recording of the Guernsey Press sports podcast and said he was approached about three years ago and was hesitant at first.

‘Despite doing what I do, I find being in that sort of limelight quite daunting and I wasn’t sure that I wanted to do it,’ he said.

Money had to be raised and he said that as time went on he was not sure it would happen at all.

‘And then suddenly it happened, the money was raised, the script was written – it got finished two weeks ago. Then they said they wanted to launch it with Variety to clash with me going to the Olympics. So it’s all happened very fast in the last two weeks.’

The climax of the film will be at the 2012 London Olympics, where Mr Hester and the dressage team won gold.

‘Carl Hester’s journey has done for dressage what Billy Elliot did for ballet,’ Drew Curtis told Variety.

The producers have already visited Sark and met Mr Hester’s father and he hopes that it is filmed in the island.

‘It will be a great boost for Sark if it does get made because they would probably like to film on Sark.’

But he had no idea who might play him in the film.

‘I don’t actually know because it’s probably going to have to be somebody who can ride, I presume. I’m not going to speculate on that. They send me ideas and I’ll wait and see. I’ll let them do the picking I think.’

News of the planned film had been kept quiet and came as a surprise to Sark Tourism Committee deputy chairman Paul Williams.

‘It’s fantastic. It would do so much good for the island,’ he said.

Previously the film Appointment With Venus and TV series Mr Pye were shot in Sark and there are hopes that JK Rowling’s forthcoming Strike book is going to have some scenes there, too, which might also end up on screen if the book is adapted for the BBC, as others have been.

The forthcoming Paris Olympics will be Mr Hester’s seventh and Mr Williams said many in Sark will be keeping an eye on his progress.