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

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 – 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 manager Danny, played by Mays, 44, discover a singing group of 10 Cornish fishermen while on a bachelor party, and followed his attempts to make 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 his role as 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 peak of performing on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury Festival, will also feature a number of new cast members, including Richard Harrington as new band member Morgan as well as Ramon Tikaram, Joshua McGuire and the Irish singer-songwriter Imelda May, in her acting debut.

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

He added: “Only when we went and got discovered and got the recording contract and all that malarkey, and then when all the initial interest gradually faded, the film came out and it all started again.

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

“While it’s all very exciting, even for us Cornish gents of a certain age, hopefully we’ve managed to stay steady at the helm, stay true to ourselves and not get drawn into imagining we’re something 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 Let It Be from the 18th century.

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

The band are poised 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 award for good tradition at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards in 2011.

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