Sir Steve McQueen discusses new Blitz film at Windsor investiture ceremony

The Oscar-winning filmmaker and artist, who directed 12 Years A Slave, was given his knighthood by the Princess Royal.

15 March 2022

Sir Steve McQueen has said his next film, set to begin production this autumn, will tell the stories of Londoners during the Blitz.

The Oscar-winning filmmaker and artist, who directed 12 Years A Slave, was given his knighthood for services to art and film by the Princess Royal at Windsor Castle on Tuesday.

Sir Steve said he was “very happy” for his mother, who attended the ceremony with him.

Asked what was discussed with Anne, he told the PA news agency: “We discussed pending projects I’m doing – I’m doing a film called Blitz and we discussed that.

Investitures at Windsor Castle
Professor Sir Michael McBride (Steve Parsons/PA)

“The Blitz is the one we’re working on which we hopefully start some time in the autumn.

“It’s about London, starting in 1940, this is what we’re attempting to do and we’ll see how it pans out.”

His drama 12 Years A Slave, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor as Solomon Northup, told the story of a free black man in the US who was kidnapped and sold into slavery.

Sir Steve, 52, won the Oscar for best picture in 2014, the first black filmmaker to do so.

Investitures at Windsor Castle
Gillian Coultard is made an MBE (Jonathan Brady/PA)

He is also known for his 2008 historical drama Hunger and 2011 film Shame.

Sir Steve won the prestigious Turner Prize in 1999 and was made Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2011 for services to the visual arts.

In 2020, he released Small Axe, a film series set in London’s West Indian community, and more recently directed Uprising, a three-part documentary series exploring key events in race relations in Britain.

Talking about Small Axe, he said: “It was about telling broader stories about British lives and shining a light on a history which wasn’t given a platform.

“For me it was about getting it out in the everyday.”

Others recognised were Sara Rowbotham, a former health worker who exposed a child sex abuse ring in Rochdale, Professor Sir Michael McBride, Northern Ireland’s chief medical officer, and former England football captain Gillian Coultard.

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