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Interview: Timothy Spall and Deborah Lipstadt on Denial


1st Jan 2015 Film & TV

Interview: Timothy Spall and Deborah Lipstadt on Denial

Denial is a historical drama film, based on Deborah Lipstadt's book about the "Irving v Penguin Books Ltd" case when the Holocaust scholar was sued by Holocaust denier David Irving for libel. Anna Walker chats to the real Deborah Lipstadt and Timothy Spall, who portrayed Irving.

Interview with Timothy Spall and the real Deborah Lipstadt, played by Rachel Weisz

As political reporting becomes saturated by “alternative facts”, and “fake news” rules over social media, Denial, the courtroom drama that recreates the libel case brought by Holocaust denier David Irving against Holocaust historian Deborah Lipstadt back in 2000, couldn’t be more timely.


There’s something tremendously satisfying about watching Hitler sympathiser and all round bigot David Irving being brought to account in such a systematic, and historical way. Denial provides hope, perhaps, that our old methods of justice and truth-seeking haven’t failed us yet: something that’s all too easy to forget in the current political climate both home and abroad.


Timothy Spall gives a nuanced and surprisingly human performance as David Irving, while Rachel Weisz shines as historian Deborah Lipstadt. Although much of the drama unfolds during the trial, the film never feels constrained by the courtroom setting, and scenes that take place in Poland, both at Auschwitz and a small bar nearby, are some of the most moving of the film. If you’re looking for hope in this age of uncertainty, this is the film to watch.

Timothy Spall and the real Deborah Lipstadt talked to us about truth-seeking in an age of “alternative facts”.


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