Fisherman’s Friends are first British band since The Beatles to inspire two films

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Fisherman’s Friends have become the first British band since The Beatles to inspire two feature films.

The Cornish sea-shanty-singing group began performing in their hometown of Port Isaac in 1995, before going on to secure a record deal with Universal Music’s Island Records in 2010.

The group – which is currently made up of brothers John and Jeremy Brown, John Lethbridge, Jason Nicholas, Toby Lobb, John McDonnell, Jon Cleave and Pete Hicks – were the inspiration for the 2019 film Fisherman’s Friends, starring Daniel Mays, James Purefoy and David Hayman.

The film saw cynical London music executive Danny, played by Mays, 44, discover a singing group of 10 Cornish fisherman while on a stag weekend and followed his attempt to have them believe they can achieve a top ten hit.

The film’s sequel, Fisherman’s Friends: One And All, is set for release on August 19 and will see Purefoy, 58, reprise the role of Jim, alongside other returning cast members including Maggie Steed, Dave Johns, Sam Swainsbury, Jade Anouka and Hayman, 74.

The second film, which finds the group struggling with their second album after the high of performing on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury Festival, will also feature a number of new cast members including Richard Harrington as the new band member Morgan as well as Ramon Tikaram, Joshua McGuire and Irish singer-songwriter Imelda May, in her debut acting role.

May, 48, also joins Fisherman’s Friends for three songs on the film’s accompanying soundtrack album – and the band’s 10th – which will be released alongside the film.

Speaking about the upcoming film, the band’s founder Cleave said: “Without sounding too biblical about it, there have been two comings of The Fisherman’s Friends.”

He added: “First up when we went and got discovered and got the recording contract and all that malarkey, and then once all that initial interest gradually faded, the movie came out and the whole thing kicked off again.

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James Purefoy will reprise his role of Jim in the upcoming film Fisherman’s Friends: One and All (Ian West/PA)

“Though it’s all very exciting, even to us Cornish gentlemen of a certain age, hopefully we’ve managed to stay steady at the helm, remain true to ourselves, and not get drawn into imagining we’re anything we’re not…”

The band’s manager Ian Brown added: “When I was lucky enough to meet the band singing in Port Isaac, I knew there was a bigger audience for their music. A sea shanty is a pop song that topped the charts before electricity was invented after all. What Shall We Do With The Drunken Sailor is the Let It Be of the 18th century.

“What no-one could foresee was just how much people would love them as people and their ever-evolving story. They are the perfect tonic for our times.”

The band are set for further success as Fisherman’s Friends: The Musical will tour the UK from September before branching out to Canada, the US and Australia.

Fisherman’s Friends have previously performed at The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations and Glastonbury festival. They were also awarded the good tradition award at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards in 2011.

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