The Young Poisoner's Handbook
|The Young Poisoner's Handbook|
|Directed by||Benjamin Ross|
|Produced by||Sam Taylor|
|Edited by||Anne Sopel|
|Distributed by||C/FP Distribution|
The Young Poisoner's Handbook is a 1995 black comedy-drama 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 also dreams of poisoning as many people as he can. In his teen years, he poisons a schoolmate—making him ill rather than killing him—in order to date a girl his schoolmate was seeing. His conversation with his date involves 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 poisoning his father and stepmother with thallium, killing his stepmother and leaving 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 hospitalised 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 Graham's deceitfulness, 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 personalised teacups are replaced with uniform ones, leaving Graham unable to poison people selectively. His efforts to memorise which cup is going to which person give him away and his workmates finally realise what is going on.
Graham is arrested soon afterwards and he is later sentenced to a lengthy custodial term, this time in an ordinary prison. He commits suicide by poisoning himself with the "Newton's Diamond" he made in the psychiatric hospital.
- Hugh O'Conor – Graham Young
- Tobias Arnold – Young Graham Young
- Ruth Sheen – Molly
- Roger Lloyd-Pack – Fred
- Norman Caro – Mr Goez
- Dorothea Alexander – Mrs Goez
- Charlotte Coleman – Winnie
- Paul Stacey – Dennis
- Samantha Edmonds – Sue
- Robert Dem – Mr Dextereger
- Jack Deam – Mick
- Peter Pacey – Dickie Boone
- Joost Siedhoff – Dr Scott
- Vilma Hollingbery – Aunty Panty
- Frank Mills – Uncle Jack
- Rupert Farley – Nurse Trent
- Dirk Robertson – Nurse Hopwood
- Chris Lawson – Prison Officer
- Malcolm Sinclair – Dr Triefus
- Charlie Creed-Miles – Berridge
- Antony Sher – Dr Zeigler
- Cate Fowler – Social Services Worker
- John Abbott – Chair
- Anna Kollenda – Baby Donna
- Katja Kollenda – Baby Donna
- Hazel Douglas – Edna
- Arthur Cox – Ray
- John Thomson – Nathan
- Jean Warren – Debra
- Simon Kunz – John
- Frank Coda – Billy
- Tim Potter – Simon
- Roger Frost – Factory Manager
- David Savile – Chief Medical Inspector