The Young Poisoner's Handbook
|The Young Poisoner's Handbook|
|Directed by||Benjamin Ross|
|Produced by||Sam Taylor|
|Written by||Jeff Rawle
|Edited by||Anne Sopel|
|Distributed by||C/FP Distribution|
The Young Poisoner's Handbook is a 1995 British-German-French-produced black comedy film based on the life of Graham Young, more commonly known as "The Teacup Murderer". It was directed by Benjamin Ross and written by Ross and Jeff Rawle. The film stars Hugh O'Conor in the lead role.
Graham Young has been obsessed with death and the macabre since childhood. He is highly intelligent, with an aptitude for chemistry; he dreams of poisoning as many people as he can. In his teen years, he actually poisons a schoolmate — which made him ill rather than killing him — in order to date a girl his schoolmate was seeing. His conversation with his date involved vivid, graphic descriptions of deadly car accidents. He also reads a comic book account of an event in which the Dutch Resistance killed a whole German army camp in the occupied Netherlands during the Second World War by poisoning their water supply with thallium.
Graham is arrested at the age of 14 outside his home in Neasden after having poisoning his father and stepmother with thallium, killing his stepmother and making his his father seriously ill. During the struggle with police, he drops his "Exit Dose" of thallium, which he intended to use to commit suicide should he be caught. He is imprisoned for nine years in an institution for the criminally insane, during which time a psychiatrist works with him in the hopes of rehabilitating him.
Graham's dishonesty becomes evident to the doctor, who can see that Graham is trying to deceive him. Graham apparently has no dreams to share with the psychiatrist so he "borrows" a fellow prisoner's dreams. This source is shut off to him, however, once the fellow prisoner commits suicide. Despite the initial evidence of deceptiveness on Graham's part, the doctor eventually gets him released.
Graham then goes to work in a camera factory and is shown the secret ingredient used in the company's shutter system — thallium. It is not long before Graham starts poisoning people again. He kills two of his workmates by poisoning their tea with thallium stolen from the laboratory, and makes many others ill. For months, the source of the "bug" afflicting the workers at the factory remains a mystery until one unforeseen event leads to Graham's being found out. As a hygiene measure, all the personalized teacups are replaced with uniform ones, leaving Graham unable to poison people selectively. His efforts to memorize which cup is going to which person give him away, and his workmates finally realize what is going on.
Graham is arrested soon afterwards, and he is later sentenced to a lengthy prison term, this time in an ordinary prison. He commits suicide by poisoning himself wih the "Newton's Diamond" he made in psychiatric prison.
Differences between the film and the real case
The Young Poisoner's Handbook is not a strictly factual account of Graham Young's crimes. The film depicts Young committing suicide immediately after his arrest; the real Graham Young died of a heart attack in 1990, at the age of 43. The film insinuates that his ambition in life was to create an untraceable poison based on Thallium using his knowledge of chemistry; in reality his ambition was to become an infamous poisoner, an ambition he achieved.
- Young Graham - Tobias Arnold
- Molly - Ruth Sheen
- Fred - Roger Lloyd-Pack
- Graham - Hugh O'Conor
- Mr Goez - Norman Caro
- Mrs Goez - Dorothea Alexander
- Winnie - Charlotte Coleman
- Dennis - Paul Stacey
- Sue - Samantha Edmonds
- Mr Dexter Robert Demeger
- Mick - Jack Deam
- Dickie Boone - Peter Pacey
- Dr Scott - Joost Siedhoff
- Aunty Panty - Vilma Hollingbery
- Uncle Jack - Frank Mills
- Nurse Trent - Rupert Farley
- Nurse Hopwood Dirk Robertson
- Prison Officer - Chris Lawson
- Dr Triefus - Malcolm Sinclair
- Berridge - Charlie Creed-Miles
- Dr Zeigler - Antony Sher
- Social Services Woman - Cate Fowler
- Chairman - John Abbott
- Baby Donna - Anna Kollenda
- Baby Donna - Katja Kollenda
- Edna - Hazel Douglas
- Ray - Arthur Cox
- Nathan - John Thomson
- Debra - Jean Warren
- John - Simon Kunz
- Billy - Frank Coda
- Simon - Tim Potter
- Factory Manager - Roger Frost
- Chief Medical Inspector - David Savile
- "The Young Poisoner's Handbook - Box Office Data, DVD and Blu-ray Sales, Movie News, Cast and Crew Information". The Numbers. Retrieved 2014-04-02.
- "Young Poisoner's Handbook | BFI | BFI". Explore.bfi.org.uk. Retrieved 2014-04-02.