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Shane Meadows wants to make This Is England ’00

10/5/2020

Film still of This Is England in 2006
Film still of This Is England in 2006. Picture: Moviestore Collection/Shutterstock

The director has revealed he’d like to to make another instalment of the series, which is set at the turn of the millennium.

Shane Meadows wants to do another series of This Is England.

Every year we celebrate the Skinhead subculture on Brighton Beach with The Great skinhead Reunion Event

The 47-year-old director – who previously helmed the 2006 film and its TV spin-offs – has revealed he’s eager to return to the series with a new instalment, set around the turn of the millennium.

Speaking to Andrew Shim – who played Milky in the series – in his Shimmy’s Corona Diaries YouTube series, Meadows shared: “I don’t know when but I’ve got This Is England ’00 in my head, the millennium one, because I sort of thought it would be nice, because when did we shoot the last one? Was it 2015, 2016?

“So, you’re obviously five years away and I don’t massively want to copy the film ideas, but if I went back I’d love to do a millennium one.”

READ MORE: This Is England Set For Final Film?

Shane Meadows at the 2016 Bafta Awards
Shane Meadows at the 2016 Bafta Awards. Picture: Mike Marsland/Mike Marsland/WireImage

Meanwhile, Stephen Graham – who famously played the fearsome Combo in the franchise – has turned his hand to comedy in new Sky One sitcom Code 404, but admitted he wasn’t sure if he could pull it off.

Speaking during a special junket from lockdown he revealed: “At first, I was quite nervous, actually.

“I said to Danny [Mays], ‘I can’t do this mate, I don’t really know what to do here’. And he was great with me because he’s such a generous actor anyway and a lovely fella. He was like, just do what you do, play it normally… just find the truth in it. I was like, ‘Okay’. And then that’s when I kind of found my place in it.”

Stephen Graham also recently took part in an interview with The Chris Moyles Show and let Pippa show off her best Scouse accent:Pippa shows Stephen Graham her questionable scouse accent!Watch Pippa in action here.Share

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A CLOCKWORK ORANGE

BEHIND-THE-SCENES OF ‘A CLOCKWORK ORANGE’: STANLEY KUBRICK AND HIS DROOGIE BUDDIES  

“I’m going out with my droogs to the cinny to shove a pooshka into the grahzny bratchny.”

A round up of some behind-the-scenes photos from the set of Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange, 1971.

34 Things You Might Not Know About "A Clockwork Orange"

1. Mick Jagger originally bought the movie rights for $500.

34 Things You Might Not Know About "A Clockwork Orange"

2. Tim Curry turned down the role of Alex.

34 Things You Might Not Know About "A Clockwork Orange"

3. As well as Jeremy Irons.

34 Things You Might Not Know About "A Clockwork Orange"

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4. Contrary to popular claims, the film was never banned in the UK, it was withdrawn by Stanley Kubrick himself.

34 Things You Might Not Know About "A Clockwork Orange"

5. The film was released again in the year 2000 after Kubrick’s death.

34 Things You Might Not Know About "A Clockwork Orange"

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6. Kubrick’s first cut ran almost 4 hours.

Kubrick's first cut ran almost 4 hours.

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7. All unused footage was destroyed per Kubrick’s request.

34 Things You Might Not Know About "A Clockwork Orange"

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8. One of only two X-rated movies to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture.

34 Things You Might Not Know About "A Clockwork Orange"

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The other being Midnight Cowboy (1969).

9. Malcolm McDowell’s eyes were anesthetized so that he could film without too much discomfort.

34 Things You Might Not Know About "A Clockwork Orange"

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10. Nevertheless, his corneas got repeatedly scratched and was temporarily blinded.

34 Things You Might Not Know About "A Clockwork Orange"

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11. The doctor standing over Alex as he is being forced to watch violent films was a real doctor.

34 Things You Might Not Know About "A Clockwork Orange"

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12. Kubrick had the Korova’s milk dispensers emptied, washed and refilled every hour.

34 Things You Might Not Know About "A Clockwork Orange"

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As the milk curdled under the studio lights.

13. The sped-up sex scene was originally filmed as an unbroken take lasting 28 minutes.

34 Things You Might Not Know About "A Clockwork Orange"

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14. The final scene was done after 74 takes.

34 Things You Might Not Know About "A Clockwork Orange"

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15. Gene Kelly was deeply upset about the way “Singing in the Rain” had been portrayed in the film.

34 Things You Might Not Know About "A Clockwork Orange"

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16. It is often claimed that Malcolm McDowell nearly drowned while being waterboarded. This is not true.

It is often claimed that Malcolm McDowell nearly drowned while being waterboarded. This is not true.

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During this scene, there is a barely perceptible microcut, in which Malcolm McDowell was able to use the oxygen mask that was hidden in the water.

17. It is said that Stanley Kubrick made this movie because of the failure of Waterloo.

It is said that Stanley Kubrick made this movie because of the failure of Waterloo.

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After he completed 2001: A Space Odyssey, he had planned to film a movie about Napoleon Bonaparte’s life, but his financial backers pulled out.

18. The rape scene was so difficult for the actress originally cast in the role that she had to quit.

34 Things You Might Not Know About "A Clockwork Orange"

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19. She was later replaced by Adrienne Corri, who told McDowell: “Well, Malcolm, today you’re going to find out I’m a real redhead.”

She was later replaced by Adrienne Corri, who told McDowell: "Well, Malcolm, today you're going to find out I'm a real redhead."

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20. Pink Floyd’s “Atom Heart Mother Suite” was going to be used in the opening scene.

However, because Kubrick wanted unlimited license to determine what portions or edits of the song he used, the band turned him down.

21. The album cover is still visible on a shelf in the music shop scene.

The album cover is still visible on a shelf in the music shop scene.

22. The band Heaven 17 was named after a fictional pop group in the film.

34 Things You Might Not Know About "A Clockwork Orange"

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23. Stanley Kubrick and Malcolm McDowell would play table tennis while recording the narration.

Stanley Kubrick and Malcolm McDowell would play table tennis while recording the narration.

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And Kubrick never beat McDowell…

24. The film’s synthesized score features the first ever use of a vocoder.

The film's synthesized score features the first ever use of a vocoder.

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25. After the film’s release, composer Walter Carlos became Wendy Carlos via a sex-change operation.

After the film's release, composer Walter Carlos became Wendy Carlos via a sex-change operation.

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26. The doorbell at Alex’s house plays the first four notes of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.

34 Things You Might Not Know About "A Clockwork Orange"

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27. Stanley Kubrick handled the promotional campaign, including the trailer, posters, ads, etc.

Stanley Kubrick handled the promotional campaign, including the trailer, posters, ads, etc.

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28. The car used by Alex and the droogs was the “Adams Probe 16,” one of three ever made.

34 Things You Might Not Know About "A Clockwork Orange"

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29. Nadsat, the fictional language spoken by Alex and his droogs, is a mix of English, Russian and slang.

34 Things You Might Not Know About "A Clockwork Orange"

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Nadsat Dictionary.

30. The snake was introduced by Kubrick when he found out Malcolm McDowell had a fear of reptiles.

The snake was introduced by Kubrick when he found out Malcolm McDowell had a fear of reptiles.

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31. Malcolm McDowell was 27 at the time of filming. Alex is 15 years old (17 in the latter half).

Malcolm McDowell was 27 at the time of filming. Alex is 15 years old (17 in the latter half).

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32. Korova Milk Bar was the only set built for the film.

34 Things You Might Not Know About "A Clockwork Orange"

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This film was shot almost entirely on real locations.

33. Warner Bros highest grossing film of 1971.

34 Things You Might Not Know About "A Clockwork Orange"

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34. There are many references in popular culture based on the film’s story and visual elements.

There are many references in popular culture based on the film's story and visual elements.

What a brilliant masterpiece!

34 Things You Might Not Know About "A Clockwork Orange"

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The End.

34 Things You Might Not Know About "A Clockwork Orange"

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Mods Of Your Generation Interview – Gary Shail – 40th Anniversary Of Quadrophenia

Mods Of Your Generation Interview – Gary Shail – 40th Anniversary Of Quadrophenia MODS OF YOUR GENERATION·WEDNESDAY, 10 APRIL 2019

 It is a massive pleasure & honour to feature an interview with English actor, director, producer and musician Gary Shail on “Mods Of Your generation”. Best known for his role as “Spider” in the iconic cult movie Quadrophenia that many of us still admire and talk about today. This year (2019) marks the 40th anniversary of the film which is a massive milestone for everyone involved. The fact that its still talked about today makes it even all the more great. Gary is a great guy who has attended a lot of events over the years in aid to raise money for charity. We asked Gary about his own event coming up called QUAD 40 and about his career and experiences filming Quadrophenia & Jack the Ripper. We also discussed his book “ I think I’m on the guest list” published in 2015 and his Christmas song “ Modding up my Christmas list ” (2017) and more. Gary has done a variety of interviews throughout the years so it was difficult to ask him questions that he hadn’t been asked before, however I hope you enjoy the interview as much as we enjoyed asking the questions. Make sure not to miss out on the anniversary celebration of the movie on Brighton Pier August 25th 2019 for more information go to www.quad40.co.uk#ModsOfYourGeneration

 (1) I have heard you are a huge fan of the Regents a four-piece band based in Essex heavily influenced by the original mod spirt of 1964. Are there any other new bands influenced by the mod scene who you are also a fan of? Yes I’m a big fan of ‘The Regents.’ I’ve known Sea Jays the lead singer since he was 16yrs old and he definitely has the right attitude. Mind you, he has always had the right attitude! Another young band I am really impressed with are ‘The Lapels’ who I saw play in Derby at a MOTM event the year before last. They completely blew the roof off the place, and nobody wanted to go on after them! The drummer was only 14yrs old at the time I think, and I watched them play with his mum! (2) You were just 18 when you were cast to play spider in Quadrophenia. I am sure you have been asked this many times before but did you think Quadrophenia would become the phenomenon it is today at the time of filming.  Of course I didn’t know that I’d still be being asked questions about a film I was in 40yrs ago, but, I think we all knew at the time that it was definitely something special (3) On Christmas 2017 you released a song called “Modding up your Christmas list” to become number one. Have you any plans to do this again in the future. “Very catchy tune by the way LOVED IT” HAHAHAHA..My Mod Xmas Song? Well, I actually got a hell of a lot of flak for doing that by certain people who shall remain permanently nameless. But it was great fun to do, and a lot of people loved it, especially the kids. I had people sending me videos of their children doing dance routines in their living rooms, which was brilliant! But no, I don’t think I’ll be the next Cliff Richard. 

Modding Up My Christmas List- 2017 (Official Video) (4) You have been involved in many MOD and Quadrophenia events over the years. Is this something you enjoy being part of and do you have any memorable moments from any of the events that stand out. Yes I do enjoy all the events I get asked to. Over the years I must have met thousands of people who love Quadrophenia, and it’s always a great feeling when my presence can actually help to raise money for a worthy cause. Some of the funniest memories I have are probably un-printable, but trying to get a kebab in Stoke at three in the morning with Alan May (The Glory Boy Radio Show) doing Withnail & I impersonations sticks firmly in my memory! (5) Your character in Quadrophenia had many memorable quotes in the film. What is the one that fans mention the most? Always the one about getting a gun!  (6) Your book “I think I’m on the guest list” published by New Haven publishing LTD in 2015 was highly regarded and recommended. I found the book to be a very funny memoir of your life and the extraordinary people you have worked with and met throughout your career. Can your briefly describe the book to someone who has not yet read it. The book was actually written because of Gary Holton (The Rocker who beats Spider up) Gary and I became really good mates after Quadrophenia, and actually formed a band together called ‘The Actors.’ But when Gary sadly died in 1985 I never spoke to the press or anyone else for that matter about it. Then I was contacted 30yrs later by someone who was writing a book about him and wanted a contribution from me. I wanted to put the record straight about a few things, so I agreed. The publishers of the book loved what I’d written, so I was offered a publishing deal for my own story. I thought I’d better do it myself before I was dead and some other twat was ‘putting things straight’ about me! It’s certainly not your average autobiography I think, and later on this year I will be doing an Audio Version with a soundtrack, which will be totally different to anything you’ve ever heard I hope. 

 (7) Many fans of Quadrophenia have expressed an interest in a follow up to the film. Is this something that you would support? or like myself do you feel it is best left alone. There has always been talk of a “follow up” But I can’t see that ever happening. It’s always interesting to hear some of the Ideas of what our characters would have been doing in later life though. I think Spider would’ve become a hit-man for Ferdy’s drugs cartel!  

 (8) You are a huge fan of Trojan records, what is your favourite track, album or artist under the Trojan label. Yes I grew up with the Trojan record label, and one of the first artists I remember driving my parents mad with was Desmond Dekker. But I’ve always loved reggae and had a very respectable collection of Jamaican Pre- Releases by the tender age of 13. Last November, I was proudly invited by Neville and Christine Staple to their 50th Trojan Anniversary weekend at ‘Skamouth’ In Great Yarmouth where I actually met ‘The Pioneers’ who were about 100yrs old. They could still cut it though!  (9) This year (2019) marks the 40th anniversary of Quadrophenia (film). To celebrate this, you have organised, and event called Quad 40 in Brighton on the 25th of August 2019. Tell us a little bit about what to expect from the event and where fans can buy tickets. It’s actually on the 25th August Johnny! Yes I have hired Horatios Bar on Brighton Pier from 12 noon ‘till midnight on Sunday the 25th August. And I can tell you now that I never thought I had this much bottle to actually try and pull something like this off. It’s a logistical fu**ing nightmare, but I’m actually really enjoying it. I’ve spoken to almost all of the other cast members of Quad who have all promised to attend (work permitting) but trying to get us all in the same country together is hard enough, let alone on a bleedin’ pier! On that morning before the actual party, Quadrophenia is being honoured with ‘The Brighton Music Walk Of Fame Plaque’ to be unveiled at the pier entrance, so it would be great if there were a few mods about. Tickets and details available at www.quad40.co.uk

 (10) A question received by Jimmy Hemstead follower of Mods of Your Generation and Blogger at MOD TV UK “HI Gary in your younger days was you ever a mod and did you ever own a scooter, can you tell me when and how you got into acting and why please?” Hi Jimmy, love all your art-work by the way!No, I was far too young to be a mod; I was born in 1959, so I was only 5yrs old in 64 and the only scooter I owned was made by ‘Chad Valley.’I never had any ambitions to become a professional actor at all when I was a youngster, but somehow found my way into drama school at the age of 12, thanks to my parents and a couple of Comprehensive High School Teachers who probably just wanted me just out of the way!Quadrophenia was my first professional job when I left. (11) Do you have any plans to release more music, Books etc or what are you doing now that we can look forward to in the future? Yes, I will definitely be writing another book I think, but not part 2 of my autobiography, that would just be a bloody diary. It will probably be about my time working in the advertising industry in the 1990s. You think actors and musicians are crazy? They’ve got nothing on advertising people! Musically though, I never really stop. I had a solo album out last year called ‘Daze Like This’ (see below) which a lot of people liked, and I guested on ‘The Transmitters’ debut album which was great, although I hear that they have now split up. I’ve also recorded a couple of tracks with Steve ‘Smiley’ Barnard which are on his ‘Smiley’s Friends’ albums, and I’m back in the studio in a couple of months with ‘The Regents’ for their new album. I’m always writing though, and will hopefully record some of my own stuff probably next year now.

Title track from the album “Daze Like This” (12) Do you keep in touch with any of the main characters of Quadrophenia 40 years on? Yes, I see quite a lot of Trevor Laird (Ferdy) and I’ve recently been working with Toyah. Hopefully I’ll be seeing the others soon  

 (13) What do you regard as your biggest achievement in your career or what are you most proud of? I actually don’t think like that. Everything that keeps me off of the unemployed statistics is an achievement these days! I am extremely proud of my family though, and very recently became a granddad to a beautiful baby girl called Ellie May. I’m very proud about that! (14) In 1988 you appeared as the tough pimp “Billy White” in the tv series of “Jack the Ripper”. Sir Michael Caine also appeared in the series as Chief Inspector Frederick. Caine was a huge influence on British Culture in the 1960’s and referred to by many as a style icon.What was it like working with such an influential person in British pop culture? Making ‘Jack The Ripper’ in 1988 was like a dream come true, and working on a film with Sir Michael Caine was an experience I shall never forget. He was so interesting to watch, whilst he was working on camera, and I learnt a great deal from him. Everywhere you looked on that set there was something extraordinary going on in the acting stakes. Lewis Collins, Armand Assante, Susan George, Jane Seymour, Lysette Anthony, Ray McAnally, Hugh Fraser, Ken Bones etc etc.They were all giving it their all. I was just glad I gave it mine!  

 (15) Finally, How would you like to be remembered?  Just to be remembered at all would be nice!             Again it was a massive privilege to interview Gary shail and a big thank you to followers of “Mods Of Your Generation”, Please continue to show your support.  Please like & share the “Mods Of Your Generation” Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/modsofyourgeneration/ interview conducted by Johnny Bradley for “Mods Of Your Generation”interview (C) 2019 to Johnny Bradley & “Mods of your Generation”                                         

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The New Pornographer: A Richard Kern Interview  John-Paul Pryor

The New Pornographer: A Richard Kern Interview
John-Paul Pryor , May 24th, 2010 08:42

The cult photographer and no-wave filmmaker Richard Kern talks to John-Paul Pryor about Lydia Lunch, Sonic Youth, self-harming super-freaks and the search for a new kind of beauty.

There are few people who have captured the naked female form in the eye of their lens as much as long-time Sonic Youth and Lydia Lunch collaborator Richard Kern, sharp-shooting star of the upcoming Vice-produced documentary Shot By Kern, wherein he travels Europe in search of young girls to shoot in their birthday suits. The Quietus caught up with him at his home in New York to find out how a provocative no-wave film director – who brought us lo-fi celluloid fare such as FingeredStray Dogs and You Killed Me First – turned into a polite, self-effacing 55-year-old on a quest to shoot a new kind of beauty (albeit via Hustler shoots, Kenneth Anger conventions and drug-crazed fans with a taste for blood).

What made you want to pursue the life of a photographer?

Richard Kern: I would have to say it was Blow-Up. When I saw that movie as a kid, I thought that it just looked like a really perfect life. I mean, the character was rich, he was driving around doing cool stuff, and he had girls come over that he would shoot.

Did Blow-Up also inspire you to start making films?

RK: I would love to make a film like that because there is so much thinking going on in that movie – you can actually see it on the actor’s faces – but Blow-Up didn’t have much to do with my films. My early films were more closely related to Russ Meyer or John Waters, or even the slasher films of the era. I also used to go to as many of Kenneth Anger’s film screenings as I could to try and hear him speak, but he never spoke, he would just wander silently around the crowd.

All your films featured some pretty intense people, such as Lydia Lunch and the incredible Lung Leg. What was it like to work with those extreme personalities?

RK: Lydia was a completely ‘take charge’ kind of person who would say, ‘I want to do this and this… and this!’ Fingered was easily the most successful of all those films and that was pretty much just Lydia saying, ‘Let’s go to California and shoot a film!’ That’s how it actually got done. She also introduced me to Sonic Youth, bringing me in on the ‘Death Valley 69’ video to do special effects. Lung Leg was just… well, I had never met anyone like that before. I think I was 30 by then and I had met a lot of people, but I had never met someone as weird as her.

Lydia Lunch

I find Stray Dogs the most bizarre of all your films…

RK: [Laughs] That was one of the Manhattan Love Suicide series, which were all about getting so hung up on your relationships that you just couldn’t do anything else. When you’re young you are so overwhelmed with all these emotions that are centred on your relationship – your life at that age is not about what you are doing but about who you are going out with. All the movies in that series were about people who just get so hung up on it all that they kill themselves. When you are older, it seems like the stupidest thing to be suffering so much: to feel that you have to die for love.

You have shot spreads for Hustler in the past. Would you say there is a line to be drawn between pornography and erotic art?

RK: There’s definitely a line. If you go on the internet and look up porn it’s not going to look like my movies or photos, it’s going to look like something else, and the people involved are going to be a lot uglier. There was a period of about five years when I was shooting for skin mags. I would go out to Los Angeles and see the LA Hollywood star system and the LA porn star system – two parallel universes that operate side-by-side – and that was just depressing. Lots of the people you come in contact with don’t realise that they are making these decisions that are going to determine the rest of their lives. Even the little brush I had shooting stills for magazines still comes back to haunt me. I wouldn’t say I regret it, though, because I produced an incredible library of stuff. Even though I am not a big fan of it at this point, I will probably look back at it in twenty years and see some good stuff in there.

Can you tell us a little about your early zine Heroin Addict?

RK: Well, I put together the zine when I was still young and living in North Carolina. I was listening to Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground and thinking, ‘Wow! That sounds so cool!’ So I decided to do this magazine and I think the tagline for it was The Magazine For People Who Are Too Chicken To Do Heroin. Then I moved to New York and saw the real thing, got involved in the real thing, and then got out of the heroin scene.

Why do you think heroin gets such a hold on people?

RK: I would say it’s definitely physiological, and once you get the hook it’s tough – you can get heroin out of your system but then this mental thing keeps coming back; this kind of hopeless despair that doesn’t go away for a couple of years. That’s the part you have to live through.

Have you ever shot anything that you decided was too extreme to show?

RK: There was once a girl from Tokyo who wrote me and said she wanted to model, and after I replied that I thought she looked okay, she got straight on a plane. When she showed up at my house the next day, I said, ‘Wow, you’ve got a lot of cut marks on your arm,’ and she just replied, ‘Oh, I just do that sometimes.’ I said, ‘Well, let me shoot you doing that.’ She just started slicing herself up. It was fucking gross, man. I never showed that stuff. She also had this gigantic bag of all kinds of pills with her, and she would be taking like, ten pills at time.

Would you say you were attracted to that kind of energy?

RK: I am attracted to the weirdness but not to the energy. I fucking hate it. These days, if someone has that kind of tweaked-out druggie energy, I can’t even be around them. I’m shooting way more pastoral now. I’m looking more for beauty and nostalgia than those kinds of extremes. I’m reaching for something new that I haven’t seen before.

Now you have the Shot By Kern about to be screened over here. Why do you think so many girls were keen to be shot by you for that show?

RK: I don’t know. I think with the documentary, it’s maybe just that they want to be on the show. I think women of a certain age are just really interested in trying something new – they want to try something different, just to see if they can do it; it’s like that thing of, ‘I wanna see if I can bungee jump off a bridge, so I’m gonna try it.’ Personally, I would never try it. I would never jump out of an airplane and I would probably never go and model for someone either, but these girls seem to really want to do it.

There is an exhibition of stills from Shot By Kern at Kenny Schachter Rove, 33-34 Hoxton Square, May 21 – June 26

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This is England. Shane Meadows

Under my skin

Forget shoulder pads and Rick Astley – growing up in the 1980s was a riot of great music, fashion and subcultures, as new film This Is England shows. Here, director Shane Meadows recalls a youth of ska music, scrapping and a time when people ‘still cared’ about politics

Shane Meadows

Sat 21 Apr 2007 00.32 BSTFirst published on Sat 21 Apr 2007 

This is England
 Shane Meadows’ This is England has been one of the biggest British independent films of 2007

It’s easy to laugh at the 1980s. Many people base their memories on the stuff they see in those I Love The 80s TV shows: massive VHS recorders, Atari consoles and rubbish digital watches, all shown against a backing of Now That’s What I Call Music Vol 2. Then there was the way that people dressed: your mum with a deranged perm, your dad in a pair of grey leather slip-ons and your sister with a “Frankie Says Relax” T-shirt and a stack of love bites round her neck.

But my memories have more meaning than that. As a kid growing up in Uttoxeter, Staffs, it was a time of great music, brilliant fashion and a vibrant youth culture that makes today’s kids look dull and unimaginative by comparison. It was also a time of massive unrest when British people were still prepared to fight for the stuff they believed in. My new film, This Is England, is about all of these things.

Set in 1983, this is the first period film I have made. A great deal of it is based on my own childhood and I tried to recreate my memoirs of being an 11-year-old kid trying to fit in. It was a time when Uttoxeter, like the rest of the country, was awash with endless different youth tribes. There were new romantics, heavy rockers, smoothies, punks, goths, skins and mod revivalists who were into the Specials and 2 Tone. Then there were those pop culture kids who came into school wearing one green sock, one pink sock and some deely boppers on their head. People often looked daft, but were genuinely committed to their chosen denomination and would wear their identities on their sleeves with immense pride. In a town as small as Uttoxeter, though, there weren’t enough people for each sub culture to fill their own parties or clubs, so most weekends everyone would turn up at the same village hall disco and end up fighting.

Like most 11-year-old kids who wore jumpers with animals on, I got bullied by the older kids at school. So I looked for my own tribe to join. It was the skinhead movement that enamoured me the most. I remember seeing 10 or 15 of them at the bus shelter on my way home from school one summer night and thinking they were the most fearsome thing I had ever seen. Even though I was terrified of them, I was instantly attracted to them. To be a part of most of the other factions you had to be a little rich kid. But to be a skinhead, all you needed was a pair of jeans, some work boots, a white shirt and a shaved head. You could be transformed from a twerp into a fearsome warrior in 15 minutes. Skins appealed to me because they were like soldiers: they wore their outfits like suits of armour and demanded respect. There were playground myths that surrounded them and especially their Dr Martens boots. It was feared that a single kick from a DM boot would kill you or at the very least give you brain damage. I can remember kids refusing to fight unless the skinhead agreed to remove his fearsome boots first.

My older sister was going out with a skinhead who took me under his wing and taught me about the roots of the whole culture. He was a nice bloke who bore no relation to the stereotypical racist yob that people now associate with that time. It was him that I based the character of Woody on in the film. I learned from him that skinheads had grown out of working class English lads working side by side with west Indians in factories and shipyards in the late-60s. The black lads would take the whites to blues parties where they were exposed to ska music for the first time. Soon, Jamaican artists like Desmond Dekker, the Upsetters and Toots And The Maytals were making a living out of songs aimed directly at English white kids. This was where the whole skinhead thing came from – it was inherently multicultural. But nowadays when I tell people that I used to be a skinhead, they think I’m saying I used to be racist. My film shows how rightwing politics started to creep into skinhead culture in the 1980s and change people’s perception of it. This was a time when there were three and a half million people unemployed and we were involved in a pointless war in the Falklands. When people are frustrated and disillusioned that’s when you get extremist groups moving in and trying to exploit the situation. That’s what the National Front did in the early-80s. Skinheads had always taken pride in being working class and English so they were easy targets for the NF who said that their identities were under threat. They cultivated a real hatred of the Asian community. In the film, Combo represents the sort of charismatic leader the NF used to turn skinheads into violent street enforcers. Suddenly, all skinheads were branded the same way. But most of the real old skins who were into the music and the clothes went on to be scooter boys to separate themselves from the racism. I always wanted This Is England to tell the truth about skinheads.

As I started to make the film, other themes started to interest me. We had a relatively small budget so we couldn’t afford to recreate every last detail of the Uttoxeter of 1983. Instead, I set the scene by using archive news footage at the start and end of the film. Going though footage of the Falklands war really made me think again about the whole thing. As kids, we thought it was like going into a World Cup campaign. It was exciting and we were cheering on our lads to go and do the Argies. But the scenes of soldiers’ coffins shocked and appalled me.

In many ways the country was a mess. The miners’ strike was massive – they were killing scabs by throwing paving slabs from bridges onto cars. You had all the protesters and unrest at Greenham Common. But remembering all of these things made me nostalgic for a time when people were ready to stand up and say something. People cared about where the country was going. As the 1980s ended we had the poll tax riots which turned out to be the end of an era. Afterwards, it was like the nation lost its backbone. People were bought off. They were given a little bit of land, the right to buy their council house and put a little satellite dish on the front of it. They became content and lost their will to rock the boat.

The big difference between now and the period in which my film is set is our level of isolation. In 1983, people still cared about society as a whole but now they’ll keep their mouth shut as long as they’ve got the house, the job and the car they want. If you were a kid in 1983, you wouldn’t have a PlayStation to sit indoors alone with. You got your entertainment from mixing with a variety of different people. While making the film, I realised that all of my fondest childhood memories surrounded human contact: mucking about with mates or going camping. In 2007, people put less emphasis on that sort of thing and more on planning their careers and their TV viewing. As far as I’m concerned, if you’re working from nine to five then coming home to watch shows that your Sky box has recorded for you while you were out, you might as well be on a fucking drip.

This Is England is a snapshot of an era and a life that seems very dated now. It’s about sticking up for mates and beliefs.

The gang

This Is England’s tight group of mates are stranded in a drab, east Midlands town in 1983. Devoted to sharp dressing, ska music and each other, the warmth and harmony of their gang is threatened by the arrival of Combo – an older skinhead with an angry, racist agenda.

Smell

The gang’s token Boy George-alike becomes the object of young Shaun’s affections. Kindly, she gives him his first kiss.

Lol

Firm but fair leader of the girl-skins and girlfriend of Woody. Also the subject of unwanted advances from the sociopathic Combo.

Shaun

An isolated 12-year-old whose dad has been killed in the Falklands War. His transformation into a skinhead offers him a whole new life of friendship, DMs and braces.

Milky

The gang’s only black member becomes a target of abuse as certain members start to embrace the National Front.

Woody

A warm hearted leader who nurtures Shaun into a fully-fledged skin. He splits from the gang when Combo shows.

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Sports Pictures Of The Month: October

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USA: Fast Food As We Know It Is Dying Now

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Women’s Best Style Moments This Year

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The Contenders for the 2018 Golden Bear

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Simple Stretch Ends Years of Back Pain

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