Famed filmmaker Ken Russell tours the countryside in search of the roots of the English folk song in this eye-opening documentary. His travels reveal the history of the form, its remnants in modern music and the ways it evolved as it was carried to Ireland and the New World. Performances and interviews with Donovan, Fairport Convention, June Tabor and other artists help illustrate the changing face of English folk music through the centuries.
FIRE FILMS announce feature documentary THE BALLAD OF SHIRLEY COLLINS about the iconic English singer is now streaming for the first time via Vimeo on Demand, including the first-ever digital release of a host of bonus materials.
- Audio commentary version of the film with Shirley Collins in discussion with the directors Tim Plester and Rob Curry
- Featurette telling the story of Shirley’s secret comeback show at the Union Chapel in 2014. Includes the full footage of the show itself.
- Behind the scenes film exploring the making of the film’s mesmerising reconstruction footage.
- Field recordings of Sam Amidon and Elle Osborne playing songs they learned from Shirley Collins
The singer who lost her voice.
Having been an indelible presence in the English folk scene for more than 20 years, Shirley Collins was until recently remembered predominantly for losing her voice in mysterious circumstances in the 1980s. This film explores [ . . . ] Continue reading
The captivating trailer for new drama Cilla, starring award winning actress Sheridan Smith. Just in case you were wondering, thats actually her singing too!
Acclaimed writer Jeff Pope has penned Cilla, a three-part drama for ITV, starring Sheridan Smith as the famous Liverpudlian songbird.
Sheridan will be joined in the cast by Aneurin Barnard as Cilla’s husband Bobby, Ed Stoppard as Brian Epstein, John Henshaw as Cilla’s father, John White and Melanie Hill is Cilla’s mother.
‘Cilla’ tells of her rocky rise to fame and will capture the essence of 1960s Liverpool, the atmosphere of promise and excitement as the Merseybeat music scene was on the verge of exploding in a blaze of tight-fitting skirts, stiletto heels, and beehives.
A young, unknown Cilla works in the austere environs of the typists’ pool at a local company, dreaming of stardom. The drama looks at how she met the two men who came to love her and ultimately fought over her – future husband Bobby Willis and legendary manager Brian Epstein, the tragic young businessman who also guided the career of The Beatles.
We learn how Cilla’s burgeoning friendship with John, Paul, George and Ringo – the four young men who went on to conquer the music world – shaped her career. It was family friend Ritchie Starkey (Ringo), the teddy-boy with a greasy quiff, who help her to cross paths with Brian Epstein and producer George Martin – who were to launch her career with recording sessions at the world famous Abbey Road Studios.
The ITV Studios production will recount the dark days of her early career, her on-off relationship with Bobby, a baker at Woolworth’s with the gift of the gab, who struggled to accept Cilla’s iron determination to succeed and become a star at the expense of practically every other area of her life.
Cilla is available to watch in the US online at Acorn
The soundtrack to The Ballad Of Shirley Collins starts with something rather shocking. Over the sound of a crackling fire the veteran folk singer is heard saying “There are some great female voices around now, but I’m not one of them. I wish I was.” Given her recent live appearances have been touching, emotional affairs, it’s rather devastating to hear Collins’ own verdict on her return after notorious decades of silence in which she avoided even singing in the shower. In this time, Collins’ place at the heart of the story of English and American folk music was neglected in favour of a male-dominated narrative, and she was only persuaded to return to song by the pestering of Current 93’s David Tibet. The story of how she rediscovered song is finely told in The Ballad Of Shirley Collins which, if you haven’t already seen it, you should track down now. You can hear the treasure that came from the rediscovery of what her voice can do in 2016’s Lodestar, an album in which Collins and her stripped-back band make songs, some centuries old, resonate with a curiously vibrant psychedelia.