Passer By (film)

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Passer By
Passer By title.jpg
Passer By title screen
Written by Tony Marchant
Directed by David Morrissey
Starring James Nesbitt
Siobhan Finneran
Emily Bruni
Bryan Dick
Theme music composer Dario Marianelli
Country of origin United Kingdom
Producer(s) David Snodin
Cinematography Tim Palmer
Editor(s) John Wilson
Running time 120 min
Original network BBC One
Original release 28–29 March 2004

Passer By (2004) is a British television film broadcast on BBC One in two parts on 28 and 29 March 2004. It was directed by David Morrissey from a script by Tony Marchant and stars James Nesbitt as Joe Keyes, a man who sees Alice, a young woman played by Emily Bruni, accosted by some men on a train one night. Alice looks to Joe for help but he ignores her predicament and gets off the train. A few days later, the police are seeking witnesses to a sexual assault against Alice. Joe unwillingly comes forward but, when giving evidence against the men in court, cannot bring himself to admit that he did nothing to save Alice.

The film was commissioned by the BBC's director of serials Laura Mackie at the outline stage. Marchant did not want to extend the script to any more than two parts because he thought two was the right length. He previously worked with Morrissey and producer David Snodin on the 1997 television series Holding On. The script went through five drafts; refinements included making Joe's wife less judgemental, and seeing other characters in the wider world reacting to Joe.[1] It was filmed over 30 days.[2]

The first part received 6.9 million viewers, and the second part 6.7 million (28% audience share). The second part was the first time BBC One won the 9–10 p.m. timeslot in two months.[3] Final ratings, accounting for viewers who recorded it to watch later, brought part one up to 7.47 million and part two up to 7.54 million.[4] Passer By received negative critical reaction from the New Statesman.[5]

It was repeated by UKTV Drama on 28 December 2004 as a single feature-length film.[6]


  1. ^ Madden, John (2 March 2004). "NFT Interviews: David Morrissey". British Film Institute. Retrieved on 11 December 2008
  2. ^ Fogg, Tom (1999). "Interview with David Morrissey". Netribution. Retrieved on 11 December 2008.
  3. ^ Deans, Jason (30 March 2004). "Nesbitt delivers Monday night ratings win for BBC". (Guardian News & Media). Retrieved on 11 December 2008.
  4. ^ "Weekly Viewing Summary: Terrestrial Top 30". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved on 11 December 2008.
  5. ^ Billen, Andrew (5 April 2004). "The bad Samaritan". New Statesman: p. 46.
  6. ^ Staff (18 December 2004). "Television: Tuesday 28 December". The Times (Times Newspapers).

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