All posts by zollt

Addict’s Symphony – 2014

James 3Addict’s Symphony is a documentary for Channel 4, first shown in August 2014. It is based on an idea I had that playing and composing music might just be instrumental (no pun intended) in helping addicts to come to terms with their addictions.

Filmed over three months it focuses on the lives of a volunteer group of ten addicts as they play and compose music together, in preparation for a live concert in which they perform with one of the world’s top orchestras, The London Symphony Orchestra. For all of the participants it has been a challenge. For some, it has been life-changing.

Addicts Symphony


Yarico FINAL with credits
London Theatre Workshop (2015).

Written with Carl Miller and Paul Leigh. Set in the 18th century Caribbean, Yarico is based on the true story of a British sailor (Thomas Inkle) rescued from shipwreck by a native island girl, Yarico. The couple fall in love and ‘marry’, but on their way back to England, addictive gambler Inkle loses his wife in a shipboard dice game. Yarico is sold into slavery on the island of Barbados. This is the story of her escape and journey back to freedom. Yarico  is currently in development for a further production.

Killing Rasputin

Killing RasputinThe Old Fire Station Theatre, Oxford (1996) and The Bridewell Theatre, London (2002)

Written with Kit Hesketh-Harvey, and under the tutelage of Stephen Sondheim, this is the story of Prince Felix Yusupov, the man who planned – then carried out – the murder of the self-styled ‘holy man’ Grigor Rasputin in early 20th century Russia. Rasputin’s extraordinary ‘power’ to alleviate the symptoms of the haemophiliac heir to the Russian throne – Crown Prince Alexis – made him indispensable to the Tsar and Tsarina. However, with Rasputin’s increasing political power leading to a series of disastrous decisions, Yusupov decided to act. A Further production is planned for 2017.

      1. Gospodi


      2. July (Live performance)

Another Life (2001)

Starring Ioan Gruffud, Nick Moran and Tom Wilkinson

Winchester FAnother Lifeilms



      1. Another Life 1


      2. Another Life 2

Ten Days to D-Day – C4



      1. 10 Days Theme

In Search of the Brontes BBC1

BBC1 docu-drama starring Victoria Hamilton and Patrick Malahide



      1. Brontes 1


      2. Brontes 2

What Made Mozart Tic?

Mozart and Tourette's

In 2005 Channel 4 commissioned me to write and a present the documentary ‘What Made Mozart Tic’, a programme based on my belief that the composer had Tourette’s Syndrome. It was first aired in October 2005.

‘Life, Interrupted’ – A memoir

'Life, interrupted' A memoir of a nearly person.

Shortly after making What Made Mozart Tic? – I was commissioned to write a book about my own experiences growing up with the Tourette’s. The result was Life Interrupted, which was published by Hodder/Headline in April 2006 and went to the top of the bestseller lists in its first week.

McConnel’s attitude towards (Tourette’s) is a surprising one and a life-affirming statement on the flexibility of the human spirit . . .
(Birmingham Post)

A singularly brilliant book.’ (Grove Magazine)