SEE the Great Wall of China brought to life on the big screen in a feature-length documentary created by a small production team from Charmouth.

A Slow Odyssey was broadcast on BBC4 earlier this year and will be screened at the Marine Theatre in Lyme Regis on Wednesday, November 6. Produced by television company Heart & Soul Films, the documentary traces the entire length of the Ming Dynasty Great Wall, using drones to capture breathtaking footage.

The idea for the film arose after executive director of Heart & Soul Films, Eric Harwood, met Englishman William Lindesay, the first person to run the entirety of the 5,000km world heritage site back in 1987. At that time, China was mostly closed to outsiders with tourists only legally allowed to visit a handful of cities. On his epic run, William was arrested 11 times and deported once, yet went on to marry his Chinese partner, Qi, and work as a reporter in Beijing for The China Daily.

By 1990, the couple had decided to commit their lives to preserving the wall, a third of which had already been destroyed by war, revolution and nature.

In 2006, William received an OBE for his work and has also been awarded several prestigious Chinese honours, as well as becoming a recognised protector of the wall. He has published numerous books on the wall, as well as curating several exhibitions and delivering lectures around the world.

To mark the 30th anniversary of his remarkable run, William and his family decided to embark on an eight-week journey along the Great Wall, retracing the steps of their father three decades previously. With William's two sons, Jimmy and Tommy, expert drone operators and photographers, the family wanted to record the world's largest monument from above, exposing its hidden wonders and unseen surprises.

It was at this point that the Lindesay family teamed up with Heart & Soul Films, who filmed the journey from the ground while the brothers captured it from the skies. Eric was accompanied by ex-Woodruffe student Edward Mills, a skilled cameraman and budding editor.

Of the final outcome, Eric said: "William and his family are devoted to the wall and what his sons have achieved in filming the highlights of the Great Wall from the air is a remarkable TV first."

The documentary explores 20 locations along the Great Wall, which was built by the Ming Dynasty between 1368 and 1644. Starting at the Yellow Sea in the East, the monument passes north of Beijing and across seven provinces, over the Yellow Rover and to the far western desert sands of the Gobi, where the Silk Road enters China from the Himalayas.

William, whose obsession with the landmark began with a world atlas at school in England, added: "I’ve been photographing the Great Wall for over 30 years, but I’ve been blown away by the images my boys have captured. I couldn’t be a prouder dad as I’m convinced their archive will stand the test of time."

The family's aim for the documentary is to help others in years ahead to measure physical change and raise awareness of the need to protect and preserve the wall for the future. William is now working to bring an exhibition of Great Wall imagery to Britain in 2020, documenting the UNESCO heritage site from ancient times to modern day.

The screening of A Slow Odyssey: The Great Wall of China begins at 7pm. It will be followed by a Q&A session with Eric Harwood. Tickets are £6 in advance, available from the Marine Theatre website or Bridport and Lyme Regis TICs, or £7.50 on the door.