20 years later, ‘Keeping The British End Up’ returns… as a movie!

The favourite of all the books I’ve written in my career is, unquestionably, Keeping The British End Up, first published in 2001, and subsequently reprinted three more times in different editions. It’s always been my dream to turn the book into a film and, for the past few months, that’s exactly what I’ve been doing.

Travelling around the UK, from Sheffield to Leicester, Kent, Surrey, Sussex, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and London, I’ve been filming with over 30 of the most interesting characters from the 1970s’ movie industry. Their stories are hilarious, often emotional and always utterly fascinating.  

Keeping The British End Up will be released at the end of 2021, and is produced by Baker Street Entertainment in association with Screenbound International Pictures.

Image © Simon Sheridan / Baker Street Productions 2021 (Poster designed by Sam Bessant)

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‘Everything – The Real Thing Story’ comes to DVD and Blu-ray!

My most recent film Everything – The Real Thing Story is released on DVD and Blu-ray on Monday 26th October 2020. This is the full, uncut theatrical version of the movie (not the slightly edited BBC cut) and it comes with a host of special features.

On the disc is an audio commentary by myself and Dr Abigail Gardner, plus the beautiful animated music video for You To Me Are Everything and three brand new short films which I’ve produced and directed especially for this release: Eddy Amoo – Child of the Ghetto (a tribute to the legendary musician); Real Love (a fan’s perspective) and A Night at the Café (The Real Thing Live in London in 2017).

I’ve been overwhelmed with the critical response to the movie so far, and hope people continue to find The Real Thing’s story illuminating, entertaining and moving.

“The searing saga of Britain’s soul pioneers” THE GUARDIAN (5 Stars)

The DVD and blu-ray can be ordered now from Amazon.

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‘Everything – The Real Thing Story’ premieres on BBC4 on 7 August 2020 at 9pm

I’m pleased to announce that my latest film Everything – The Real Thing Story will be getting its worldwide TV premiere on Friday 7 August 2020 on BBC Four at 9pm. This movie has been a labour of love for me and, after a successful theatrical run, I’m immensely proud to bring it to a bigger audience on television.

The Real Thing are pioneers in the British music industry, and in the era of the #BlackLivesMatter movement their story is more relevant than ever.

I feel honoured to have been able to document their incredible career on film.

My movie is ‘Pick of the Day’ or ‘Critic’s Choice’ in The Times, Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday, Guardian, Observer, The Sun, The Telegraph, TV Times, Heat magazine, TV Guide and Radio Times.

Hope you all enjoy it. #FeelTheForce!

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The Mary Millington blu-ray box-set is out 15th June 2020!

On 22 June 2020 The Mary Millington Movie Collection finally receives a luxury release on Blu-ray. This five-disc box-set features beautiful HD remasters of Mary’s most legendary feature films from the late-1970s, including Come Play with Me (1977), The Playbirds (1978), Confessions from the David Galaxy Affair (1979), Queen of the Blues (1979) and Mary Millington’s True Blue Confessions (1980). Also included is the 2015 documentary Respectable – The Mary Millington Story. All of the films are making their debut on Blu-ray disc. Additionally, the box-set comes with a chunky 80-page illustrated book, written by myself, telling the story of the making of the movies.

This has been a much-cherished project of mine. I’ve been lobbying to get Mary’s most popular movies restored for over a decade, and now the wonderful Screenbound International Pictures have made the dream become a reality!

On each disc boasts a luscious collection of new bonus features, including eight new documentaries produced by myself:

  • ‘Ten Million Dirty Words’ (brand new featurette about Harry Knights, the Nottingham-based porn writer who helped create Mary’s image).
  • ‘In Bed with Josie Harrison Marks’ (new interview with Josie Harrison Marks, the daughter of ‘Come Play With Me’s director George Harrison Marks).
  • ‘Confessions of a Photographer’ (new interview with George Richardson, the photographer who snapped Mary topless at 10 Downing Street)
  • ‘David Galaxy and Me’ (new interview with actress Sally Faulkner, who recalls working with Alan Lake on Confessions from the David Galaxy Affair)
  • ‘Mary on Location’ (new ‘Then and Now’ travelogue revisiting the main locations in Mary’s life and films, narrated by actress Judy Matheson)
  • ‘Aural Sex’ (Mary Millington’s archive voice recording; with a new introduction by adult actress Clyda Rosen)
  • ‘Millington/Sheridan’ (interview with filmmaker and writer Simon Sheridan)
  • ‘8mmillington’ (compilation of the ‘tamer’ sequences from Mary’s hardcore 8mm films)
  • ‘The Naked Truth’ (alternate 1982 introduction to the VHS release of ‘True Blue Confessions’)
  • Emmanuelle In Soho prologue’ (elements from Mary Millington’s True Blue Confessions were re-edited to create this prologue for 1981’s Emmanuelle in Soho)
  • New ‘Come Play with Me’ audio commentary by biographer Simon Sheridan and actress Sue Longhurst’
  • New ‘The Playbirds’ audio commentary by biographer Simon Sheridan and director Willy Roe.
  • New ‘Queen of the Blues’ audio commentary by biographer Simon Sheridan and actor Allan Warren.
  • New ‘Mary Millington’s True Blue Confessions’ audio commentary by biographer Simon Sheridan and executive producer David Sullivan.
  • ‘Respectable: The Mary Millington Story’ audio commentary by director Simon Sheridan and the BFI’s Sam Dunn.
  • ‘Response’ (8mm softcore short film, 1974)
  • ‘Wild Lovers’ (8mm softcore short film, 1974)
  • ‘Party Pieces’ (8mm softcore short film, 1974)
  • ‘Sex Is My Business’ (8mm softcore short film, 1975)
  • ‘Come Play with Me’ original 1977 trailer

The box-set is available now to pre-order from Amazon: tinyurl.com/tguf98j

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Reviews for ‘Everything – The Real Thing Story’

My new movie Everything – The Real Thing Story has been travelling around the UK this past two weeks and it’s had an amazing reaction from audiences. I’ve being doing Q&As with band members Dave Smith and Chris Amoo after each screening and it’s felt wonderful. Thanks to everybody who has attended so far. The film continues its run during the remainder of January and February.

I’ve had some really positive reaction in the press too. Here are a few reviews so far:

“Director Simon Sheridan celebrates Liverpool’s oft-neglected The Real Thing in a rich, enveloping docu-study with a keen socio-historical eye. Both a ‘story of the song’ and much more, Everything digs deep. Made with passion and insight” (4 stars out of 5) TOTAL FILM

“The story of the chart-topping 70s’ Merseyside band delivers a charmingly recounted piece of pop history. Simon Sheridan’s solid, efficient documentary pays tribute to the Liverpudlian pop-soul beat combo the Real Thing. As a package, it cross-references social history with musicology, making a tidy and touching tribute. An absorbing, considered feature-length documentary” THE GUARDIAN

“Simon Sheridan’s film is an invaluable document of a different era of racial intolerance. A moving and necessary documentary” (4 stars out of 5) THE TIMES

“An enlightening film portrait of a pioneering British soul band. Simon Sheridan’s pitch-perfect documentary reveals a lot of blood, sweat and tears” (4 stars out of 4) MOJO

“A vivacious new feature documentary” BBC CULTURE

 “What’s not to love! A soulful documentary about Britain, race, long hot summers and the power of great music” (Jason Solomons) BBC RADIO LONDON

 “A powerful new documentary” NORTHERN ECHO

“Simon Sheridan does a diligent job of surveying of surveying what’s under the surface, and gives the problems of race and integration their due” SIGHT & SOUND

“The picture gives a sharp-lensed insight into how the group achieved the unprecedented feat of becoming the first all-black British band to reach number one in the UK chart.  Everything – The Real Thing Story is a creative artist’s visual fantasy.” THE UPCOMING

 Photograph © Simon Sheridan 2020

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My new movie ‘Everything – The Real Thing Story’ opens across the UK

After a very successful launch at the Regent Street Cinema last October, my new movie Everything – The Real Thing Story will be travelling around the UK in January and February, with distribution being handled by Screenbound International Pictures.

My follow-up to Respectable – The Mary Millington Story mines a similar vein of 1970s’ fame, excess and tragedy in the tale of Britain’s longest-established soul and funk band, The Real Thing. 

Everything opens at the Brixton Ritzy on 15th January (followed by a Q&A by myself and The Real Thing) before playing at other cinemas in London and around the UK. Here is the full list of dates so far:

15 January The Ritzy, Brixton; 16 January Genesis Cinema, Whitechapel; 17 January Picturehouse @ FACT, Liverpool; 18 January Square Chapel Arts Centre, Halifax; 19 January Darlington Film Club; 20 January Glasgow Film Theatre; 21 January Broadway Cinema, Nottingham; 23 January Hackney Picturehouse; 24 January Art House, Crouch End; 24 to 30 January Picturehouse @ FACT, Liverpool; 7, 14 and 21 February Bernie Grant Arts Centre, London; 9 and 12 February Leiston Film Theatre, Suffolk; 14, 15 and 19 February QUAD Derby; 18 and 19 February Gloucester Guildhall…. plus more dates yet to be announced!

Narrated by Game of Thrones actor Jacob Anderson, Everything – The Real Thing Story stars The Real Thing, Billy Ocean, David Essex OBE, Trevor Nelson MBE, Kim Wilde, Paul Barber, Denise Pearson and Louis Emerick.

Poster image © Baker Street Entertainment 2020 and © Simon Sheridan 2020

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Get Ready to #FeelTheForce!

I’m thrilled to announce that my new movie Everything – The Real Thing Story will make its big screen debut at the beautiful Regent Street Cinema in London’s West End on 24 October 2019, with distribution being handled by Screenbound International Pictures.

The follow-up to Respectable – The Mary Millington Story mines a similar vein of 1970s’ fame, excess and tragedy in the tale of Britain’s longest-established soul and funk band, The Real Thing. 

The ‘other four lads from Liverpool’ tell their story from the tough streets of Toxteth to the bright lights of New York, and international stardom. Against a backdrop of racism and social and political turmoil, The Real Thing were the first all-black British band to hit #1 in the pop charts – with the perennial ‘You To Me Are Everything’ – and as a result became the original black pin-ups for teenage fans in the UK.

Other hits like ‘Can’t Get By Without You’, ‘You’ll Never Know What You’re Missing’ and ‘Can You Feel the Force’ set dance-floors alight, but their proudest moment was composing their anthemic ‘Children of the Ghetto’ – the first ever song to address the plight of black people in the UK.

After five decades, they remain the true pioneers of British soul. Come on and #FeelTheForce!

Narrated by Game of Thrones actor Jacob Anderson, Everything – The Real Thing Story also stars Billy Ocean, David Essex OBE, Trevor Nelson MBE, Kim Wilde, Paul Barber, Denise Pearson and Louis Emerick.

After the screening there will be a Q&A with director Simon Sheridan plus a performance by original band members Chris Amoo and Dave Smith.

Poster image © Baker Street Entertainment 2019 and © Simon Sheridan 2019

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40 Years Ago Today

And so, here we are, exactly 40 years on from 19th August 1979 – the day Mary Millington died. Because she has influenced so much of my adult life and career, people regularly ask me “Did you meet her?” or “What was she like?” but of course, I never did. I was just a small child back then, growing up in the West Country. ‘Mary Millington’ was a name I’d seen on garish cinema posters on the front of the ABC cinema in Kings Square, Gloucester, but Mary’s life was about as far removed from my own childhood as I can possibly imagine.

I was far too young to keep a diary back then, and I’ve often pondered exactly what I was doing that fateful morning when she lost her life. Then, earlier this year, my father miraculously found a drawing I’d done as a child – one of only a handful that survive. It shows a plane flying high over streets lined with dozens of tiny houses. My father (who was a pilot) wrote on the picture “Simon’s first trip in an aircraft” and a date “19th August 1979”. I was astonished by the picture, as it pin-pointed me to an exact time in my young life – a significant day for me. 

Mary has had such a profound impact on my life. I never knew her, but I feel as though I do. I’ve interviewed her friends and family – they are now part of my life. I’ve written books on her, made a movie about her life and now I’m embarking on what will, probably, be my final love letter to her – the upcoming Blu-ray box-set release of her movies.

No, I never met Mary Millington. But she changed my life. I probably wouldn’t be a writer or filmmaker without her inspiring me. Thank you, Mary. For everything.

All words © Simon Sheridan 2019

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Mary Millington goes Blu!

To commemorate 40 years since her death, Mary Millington’s most famous films are being reissued on Blu-ray disc in October this year by Screenbound International Pictures. Lovingly restored in high definition, the collectors’ box-set will include Come Play with Me (1977), The Playbirds (1978), Confessions from the David Galaxy Affair (1979), Queen of the Blues (1979), Mary Millington’s True Blue Confessions (1980) plus my own 2015 documentary Respectable – The Mary Millington Story.

Mary Millington blu-ray

The collection will include audio commentaries, original short films, trailers and a host of brand new documentaries + interviews about Mary, and her movies, all produced by myself, plus I’ve written an 80-page, fully-illustrated booklet to accompany the set.

‘The Mary Millington Movie Collection’ can be pre-ordered now via Amazon, and will be available in June 2020.

Image © Screenbound International Pictures Limited 2019

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Getting Funky in the Studio!

Really busy in the studio today, filming additional scenes for my new feature-length movie out this October! My model, Ruel, I just spotted whilst walking down the street, but he’s a natural in front of the camera!

Simon Sheridan filming studio

Photo strictly © Simon Sheridan 2019

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