Waking up in Birmingham



‘Waking up in Birmingham’ Grand Prix Winner at the Kinsale Shark Awards 2023.

In the lead up to the Rugby League World Cup, Peter Franklyn Banks documented the incredible story of soldier-turned-athlete James Simpson, for Reign Body Fuel.

In 2009 James suffered near fatal injuries whilst serving in Afghanistan. ‘Waking Up in Birmingham’ is a first-person retelling of his journey from Soldier to Rugby League Wheelchair Champion.

In this gripping ten-minute documentary, James emerges as a character whose essence transcends his injuries, finding definition in his indomitable spirit and unwavering resolve never to succumb. His mantra, boldly tattooed across his chest – "Not Today" – encapsulates a powerful testament to his refusal to be defeated.

This compelling narrative not only shapes the core of Simpson's character but also serves as a profound inspiration, weaving through the film's themes of overcoming adversity with a breathtaking intensity.


Reign Energy
Project title
Waking up in Birmingham

Dave Birch (Producer)

Kode (Production Studio)

Matt Fleming (Creative & Executive Producer)

Emily O'Meara (Executive Producer)

Sam Katz (Production Manager)

Ed Hubert (DOP)

Akhil Kanukuntla (Editor)

Ed Chambers (Post Producer)

Tim Smith (Colourist)

Martin Leitner (Sound Designer)