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A British Subject

A British Subject

Nichola McAuliffe

Oberon Books

"Beautifully performed... full of lovely touches… this is a piece of theatre entirely without vanity: heartfelt, fierce, serious-minded but with a sense of humour.' 4 stars – Guardian

“The play is unfashionably, but powerfully, open about religious principle as a motivator, both Tahir’s Islam and McAuliffe’s Catholicism, while also keenly detailing the Realpolitik of such campaigning. It is a modest revelation.” – Financial Times 

“A stirring, funny and informative account of the campaign for justice… beautifully weaves together the tense seriousness with the comic absurdities” – Independent

“Admirable and deeply moving” – Mail on Sunday


At the age of 18, Mirza Tahir Hussain, a British Subject, arrived in Pakistan. 24 hours later a taxi driver was dead and Tahir was tried for his murder. Condemned to hang in the Criminal Court he spent the following 7 years on death row. Released on appeal, he prepared to return home to Leeds but was sent back to death row by a Sharia Court. He stayed there for a further 11 years.

Don Mackay of the Daily Mirror was the only journalist to visit him in that time. A British Subject is the true account of what happened… A British Subject opened at the 2009 Edinburgh Fringe.


Nichola McAuliffe is an award-winning actress most recently seen as Wallis Simpson in Unititled, Katisha in the Mikado, Miss Sheperd in The Lady in the Van and as Madame Aldonza in Stephen Frears' film Cheri. On television she is best known as Sheila Sabatini in Surgical Spirit. Her novels include The Crime Tsar and Atilla, Loolagax and the Eagle (Bloomsbury) and A Fanny Full of Soap (Oberon Books). Her plays include National Hero, My Brother's Keeper and The Incomparable Witness.

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