IT’S the story everybody’s talking about these days but who would have guessed, back in 2011, that a teenager’s mission to attend his school prom in drag would give rise to such a legacy? Not Jamie Campbell, the teen in question.

Bullied relentlessly through his childhood and adolescence, Campbell saw drag as his escape. A release from reality. When it came to attending prom, his mother’s support for his choosing to attend in a dress was not matched by the school. The protest that followed inspired a BBC Three documentary, which in turn gave rise to Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, the hit show from erstwhile Doctor Who and Threesome writer Tom MacRae.

The production stated small, with a debut at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre in February 2017. Music from Dan Gillespie Sells - best known as frontman to The Feeling - scored MacRae’s book and lyrics, with John McCrea bringing life to the lead role. To separate art from life, it’s Jamie New, not Campbell, on stage.

Plaudits followed and it wasn’t long before this exuberant bastion of contemporary acceptance had transferred to the West End. A UK tour soon followed and now a film. Not bad for a boy from Bishop Auckland. And, yes, that is the home of Billy Elliot. What are the odds.

Even if drag wasn’t your bag growing up, there’s resonance for all in Jamie’s quest to find acceptance and respect for being exactly who he wants to be. Here, it’s the turn of screen newcomer Max Harwood to play Jamie. Sarah Lancashire plays supportive mum Margaret, with further star power provided by the likes of Richard E. Grant, Sharon Horgan and Coronation Street’s Shobna Gulati.

West End choreographer Jonathan Butterell directs the film, with MacRae himself translating the screenplay. It’s a good job done by all.

Harwood proves himself a real find, standing out in a crowd of names and proving experience not to be everything when it comes to talent. The film around him trades on glitz, glamour and razzmatazz so well sequinned that it makes Strictly look understated.

Sadly, a cinema release has been denied the film, courtesy both of Covid restrictions and studio reticence. It’s a pity. Jamie deserves better than an Amazon Prime debut. Certainly, there’s no doubt that such fabulousness warrants only the biggest of screens. If the opportunity arises, seize it.