Former Oundle pupil is starring in Danny Boyle's new Beatles-inspired movie

A former pupil at Oundle's Prince Williams School is the star of a new film directed by Oscar-winning British director Danny Boyle.

Tuesday, 25th June 2019, 5:22 pm
Ed Sheeran appears as himself in the new film Yesterday, which stars former Prince William School pupil Himesh Patel. (Photo: Universal film still, UPI Image via

Yesterday, which goes on general release in cinemas this Friday, is a British fantasy comedy drama directed by Boyle, the man behind the award-winning movies Trainspotting and Slumdog Millionaire, as well as the artistic director for the 2012 London Olympics opening ceremony.

The lead role in the new film is played by 28-year-old actor Himesh Patel, who attended Prince William School in Oundle, with the actor now being tipped for global stardom.

The film stars Patel as lead character Jack Malika, a struggling musician who, after a freak bus accident during a mysterious global blackout, finds himself as the only person in the world who remembers The Beatles, and becomes famous by taking credit for writing and performing their songs.

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However, as his star rises, he risks losing best friend Ellie, played by Downton Abbey actress Lily James -- the one person who always believed in him.

Jack's parents are played by Sanjeev Bhaskar of The Kumars at No. 42 fame and the Absolutely Fabulous and Doctor Who actress Meera Syal.

Music superstar Ed Sheeran and comedian James Corden also play themselves in the movie, while the screenplay was penned by the Blackadder, Four Weddings and a Funeral and Notting Hill writer Richard Curtis.

Prior to this big break, Patel was mostly known for his role as Tamwar Masood in BBC soap opera EastEnders from 2007 to 2016, before going on to play Nitin in Channel 4 sitcom Damned alongside comedians Alan Davies and Jo Brand.

Born in Cambridgeshire, Patel is the son of a shopkeeper who grew up in the village of Great Gidding, where he once delivered newspapers for his parents, who have been running the village shop for 20 years. He later attended Prince William School and its sixth-form, where he studied English among other subjects.

The Northamptonshire Telegraph approached the school for comment on their alumnus but it declined.

Patel's talent for acting was obvious from an early age and as a schoolboy he took parts in productions at Great Gidding Village Hall, including the role of Peter Pan and playing Michael Aspel in a school production called ‘This is Your Life Santa Claus’ as an 11-year-old.

The actor’s parents moved to the UK from Gujarat, India, relocating to England in the 1970s.

The new film, released by Universal Pictures, had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City on May 4 and received broadly positive reviews.