Sunbeam by Nick Padmore | Script Revolution


When the heir to the Russian throne is born with haemophilia, the desperate Romanovs give charismatic but uncouth Siberian miracle-worker Rasputin a coveted spot in the royal household. Biiiig mistake. An off-kilter historical dramedy feature.



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It’s 1904. Tsar Nicholas and Tsarina Alexandra of Russia are flying high. The people love them, and they’ve just had a baby boy, Alexei; a brother to their four daughters and the heir to a dynasty that’s lasted since 1613.

But there’s one, big problem: he’s got haemophilia.

In desperation for her little ‘Sunbeam’, Alexandra turns to a crass mystic called Grigori Rasputin who’s said to have performed miracles in Siberia.

The man’s a god-send (possibly literally). He’s somehow able to succeed where his predecessor, Dr Botkin, has failed; quelling Alexei’s constant pain and weaseling his way into a powerful position among the Russian aristocracy.

He starts to use his influence to manipulate those around him. When the world war breaks out in 1914, he encourages Nicholas to travel to the Eastern Front and give his soldiers a much-needed kick up the backside. And with the Tsar gone, Rasputin becomes the puppet master operating Alexandra’s strings.

But his behaviour is… unfortunate. He’s a wife-beater and a raging drunk, with no respect for authority and the table manners of a chimp. And his political decisions are unpopular.

When Nicholas returns from the front, he finds that the mood of the people has turned against him, the Bolshevik movement has gained momentum and everyone seems to have contracted measles. A British spy masquerading as the Tsar’s aide worries that this momentum could knock Russia out of the war, and while the Triple Entente is just about managing to hold back the Germans, a Double Entente wouldn’t stand a chance.

A plan is hatched to assassinate the mad monk, and though it takes a mixture of poison, bullets and an icy river to do the trick, the deed is eventually done.

With the healer gone, Alexandra’s driven half-mad with fear for her son. But in the end, it’s not the haemophilia she needs to worry about. It’s the Bolsheviks banging on the palace doors.

Major characters:

Grigori Rasputin

A mystic with a drinking problem, who manages to work his way into the good graces of the Russian royal family. He looks like a bum, but seems able to perform miracles.

Tsarina Alexandra

The true power behind the Russian throne (even if she’s German). She loves the Tsar, but tends to manipulate him. She wants to protect her haemophiliac son, Alexei, and will go to extreme ends to do so.

Tsar Nicholas II

A jolly but gullible man who loves his family more than he loves being Tsar. He wants to be a strong leader but he’s too easily swayed.


The Russian royal family's loyal servant, always in the background. In truth, a British spy who’s monitoring the strength of the Russian leadership.

All Accolades & Coverage: 

Semifinalist in Scriptapalooza 2020

Quarterfinalist in the Page Awards 2020

‘A promising project: the writing felt fresh and zingy and the characters were well-drawn. A new take on a well-known story.’
Script notes from Rocliffe

Submitted: September 25, 2020
Last Updated: September 25, 2020

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The Writer: Nick Padmore

I write screenplays. Features, mostly, but also TV pilots and shorts. Sunbeam Quarterfinalist, Page Awards 2020 Semifinalist, Scriptapalooza 2020 Semifinalist, Table Read My Screenplay 2021 Semifinalist, ISA Drama Genre Busting Screenplay Competition 2021 Parallel Runner-up, Scriptapalooza 2021 Second Rounder, Austin Film Festival Script Competition 2021 Quarterfinalist, Emerging Screenwriters Genre Competition 2021 The Holdout Quarterfinalist, Page Awards 2021 Quarterfinalist, Bluecat Screenplay Competition 2021 Quarterfinalist, Emerging Screenwriters Genre Competition 2021 The Infantorium Quarterfinalist, Page Awards 2021 Quarterfinalist, Creative Screenwriting Unique Voices 2021 Finalist... Go to bio

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