Shane Meadows (born 26 December 1972) is an English film director, screenwriter, occasional actor and BAFTA winner.
Meadows grew up in Uttoxeter, Staffordshire. His father was a long distance lorry driver and his mother worked in a fish and chip shop. His father discovered the body of child murder victim Susan Maxwell and was initially a suspect in the murder case, which led to Meadows being bullied and shunned by other children. He attended Picknalls First School, Oldfields Hall Middle School and Thomas Alleyne's High School. On weekends, he sold produce at a market in Uttoxeter. His love of cinema was fostered by regular trips to the Elite Cinema.
Meadows left school shortly before reaching his GCSEs, and soon turned to petty crime. He moved to Nottingham when he was 20. While living in the Sneinton area of Nottingham, he made roughly 30 short films with the friends he met there. He could not show these films to anyone because there were no film festivals in his area. His friends started one in the local cinema which became popular within the city.
Meadows enrolled on a Performing Arts course at Burton College, where he first met friend and future collaborator Paddy Considine. Amongst other things, they formed the band She Talks To Angels (inspired by a Black Crowes song of the same name), with Meadows as vocalist and Considine as drummer. Lead guitarist in She Talks To Angels was Nick Hemming, who was also a member of The Telescopes and now fronts The Leisure Society.
The majority of Meadows' films have been set in the Midlands area. They recall the kitchen sink realism of filmmakers such as Ken Loach and Mike Leigh. Much of the content of his films is semi-autobiographical and based on his experiences in Uttoxeter. Twenty Four Seven was inspired by his youth, both at a boxing club, and also playing in a local football club. Despite some huge losses, the club's coach never lost faith in them. A Room for Romeo Brass was also inspired by his youth. After Paul Fraser — his best friend, neighbour and future writing partner – had a bad accident and was bound to his bed for two years, Meadows instead hung around with some of the town's more undesirable characters. Dead Man's Shoes is based on the more unpleasant side of his youth in Uttoxeter. It was inspired by a close friend who had been bullied, developed a drug problem and then committed suicide. He said "I couldn't believe that, going back ten years later, he had been totally forgotten in the town – it was as if he had never existed. I was filled with anger against the people who had bullied and pushed the drugs on him, and with despair at what drugs had done to that small community".
Five of Meadows' films were shown at the 2007 Flourish Festival, held annually in Uttoxeter, to mark the release of This is England (a film set in 1983).
His second feature-length film, Twenty Four Seven, won several awards at film festivals, including the Douglas Hickox award at the British Independent Film Awardsand Best Screenplay at the Thessaloniki Film Festival. Dead Man's Shoes, his sixth film, and third starring Paddy Considine, was nominated for a BAFTA for Best British Film. His seventh film This is England, won the British Independent Film Awards 2006 for best British independent film. Meadows was presented with the award by Sylvester Stallone and used the occasion to announce that he was to be a father. This is England also won a BAFTA for Best British Film.
The film has since had a series of sequels adapted into television serials, the first being This is England 86 (set in 1986 aired on Channel 4 in September 2010). A second series, This is England 88 (set in 1988) was aired in December 2011. A third and final series, This Is England '90 (set in 1990), was originally due to be broadcast in December 2012, but in July 2012, Shane Meadows announced that the production had been put on hold in order for him to complete his documentary about The Stone Roses, and the actors were still waiting for confirmation as to when filming would start.
- Small Time (1996)
- Twenty Four Seven (1997)
- A Room for Romeo Brass (1999)
- Once Upon a Time in the Midlands (2002)
- Dead Man's Shoes (2004)
- This Is England (2006)
- Somers Town (2008)
- Le Donk & Scor-zay-zee (2009)
- The Stone Roses: Made of Stone (2013)
- This Is England '86 (2010) (four 60-minute episodes with Meadows directing episodes three and four)
- This Is England '88 (2011) (three 60-minute episodes)
- This Is England '90 (2015) (four 60-minute episodes)
Meadows is known for his frequent collaborations with various actors and film crew members. Though he writes and directs all his work, for many of his films the splits the writing credits with another party, with the two credited jointly as writers.
He has worked twice with Toby Kebbell, Frank Harper, Bob Hoskins, Ladene Hall, Jimmy Hynd, Mat Hand, Dominic Dillon and Darren O. Campbell. He has worked three times with Stephen Graham, Joe Gilgun, Rosamund Hanson, Andrew Ellis, Danielle Watson, Chanel Cresswell, Perry Benson, Kriss Dosanjh and Michael Sochaand at least four times with Paddy Considine, Vicky McClure, Andrew Shim (who also had cameo roles in Dead Man's Shoes and The Stairwell ), Thomas Turgoose, Jo Hartley and George Newton.
Paul Fraser [a childhood friend] has been Meadows' co-writer and contributor for all of his films except his This is England projects, Small Time and Le Donk & Scor-zay-zee on which Meadows worked with writers Jack Thorne and Paddy Considine (both of whom have gone on to successfully write and direct their own projects) or Meadows worked alone.
Many of Meadows's films have had original music provided by Nick Hemming of The Leisure Society, Gavin Clark of Clayhill or Italian pianist and composer Ludovico Einaudi. Meadows has worked many times with producer Mark Herbert and cinematographer Danny Cohen.
- Paul Fraser has written nearly every Meadows movie from 24 7: Twenty Four Seven to Somers Town. He also worked as second unit director/assistant director forSomers Town. He appears in Once Upon a Time in the Midlands as "Bingo Checker", A Room for Romeo Brass as "Physiotherapist" (uncredited) and 24 7: Twenty Four Seven as "Photographer".
Many of Meadows's films have had original music provided by:
- Gavin Clark of Clayhill, Clayhill also appeared in "Northern Soul" (short). Clark was the subject of a 2007 Meadows documentary "The Living Room".
- Nick Hemming and The Leisure Society.
- Ludovico Einaudi an Italian pianist and composer.
All of Meadows's films have been either edited or had cinematography by Tank Bullock or Shaun Fields. Both Bullock and Fields, however, are aliases to refer to Meadows himself, similar to the Coen brothers' use of the name "Roderick Jaynes" (Jaynes refers collectively to the two Coen brothers).
Recurring cast members
Shane Meadows often casts certain actors more than once in his films. Meadows has most frequently worked with Paddy Considine, Vicky McClure, Andrew Shim, Thomas Turgoose, Frank Harper and Jo Hartley.