Before They Were is a documentary series that uses psychology to understand the personalities and work of historical figures and artists, how their experiences shaped their lives and legacy. The pilot takes us through the life of Scottish playright and novelist James Matthew Barrie, the creator of Peter Pan. After the death of his older brother, Barrie was neglected by his mother. As an adult, he had to endure the early loss of multiple members of the Llewelyn Davies family, for whose five boys he had become an adoptive father. In 1922 Barrie wrote: "Long after writing Peter Pan, its true meaning came to me, desperate attempt to grow up, but can't".  A lot of research went into this collaborative project. It relies heavily on archive, and we worked with an animator to bring some scenes of Barrie's life to life. Contributors include director and screenwriter Andrew Birkin and child psychiatrist Dr. Dennis Ougrin.

To report inappropriate content, an infringement of copyright, or to report a problem on the Portfolio platform, please contact the

Got an issue?

Thank you, your feedback has been received.