I’m pleased to hear that a very major Birmingham / Staffordshire movie is going ahead. Directed by James Strong (Downton Abbey), Middle Earth will explore Tolkien’s early life, his romance with Edith Bratt, and the loss of nearly all his friends in the war. The screenwriter will be Angus Fletcher, and The Lord of the Rings producers Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne are both on board.

In my view the geographical timeline of the movie, if done without flashbacks, would be: semi-rural south Birmingham / school at Birmingham New St. / the Birmingham Oratory / Exeter College, Oxford / the Lizard, Cornwall / Warwick / Lichfield / Cannock Chase / his rifle training in North Staffordshire / Great Haywood / he leaves for the war by train, from Birmingham.

We can be fairly sure that the centre of Birmingham and the Staffordshire countryside will get a pretty good boost from such a major movie, as long as subsidies don’t lure the makers away to Ireland or somesuch.