A HAMPSHIRE arts centre is staging a pre-release screening of a new film that raises questions about the death of Lawrence of Arabia.

Hanger Farm at Aikman Lane, Totton, is one of only a handful of venues chosen to show the award-winning Lawrence: After Arabia before it goes on general release next month.

The centre is only a few miles from Langley Wood, where Lawrence spent part of his youth.

He returned to the New Forest in the late 1920s, helping to organise the famous Schneider Trophy air races at Calshot as well as developing a new generation of high-speed rescue boats at Hythe.

But Colonel Thomas Edward Lawrence is best known for leading the Arab Revolt against the Turks during the First World War.

After returning to the UK he changed his surname to Shaw and spent 14 years in low-level military roles before retiring at the age of 46. However, he is reputed to have had powerful friends - and enemies.

In 1935 Lawrence was living at Clouds Hill, near Wareham, Dorset, when he was fatally injured in a motorcycle crash near Bovington Camp.

According to official accounts Lawrence swerved to avoid two boys on bicycles, lost control of his Brough Superior SS100 and was thrown over the handlebars.

But a black car was seen in the area at the time and black paint is said to have been found on parts of the bike.

Lawrence: After Arabia examines the possibility that Lawrence was murdered by the Secret Service, possibly because Winston Churchill may have been planning to make him the new head of the organisation.

Director Mark Griffin said: "A black car passed Lawrence going in the opposite direction and the crash occurred immediately afterwards, suggesting the car interfered with the motorcycle.

"The car was never traced and the police, Special Branch and Secret Service seemed to make little effort to find it."

Lawrence is portrayed by Dorset actor Tom Barber-Duffy. Other members of cast include Hugh Fraser, who appeared alongside David Suchet in the long-running Poirot. Derek Herbert plays Winston Churchill.

The Hanger Farm screening is next Tuesday. It will be followed by a question-and-answer session with Mr Griffin.