Fisherman’s Friends comes to ITV1

“Ten slabs of prime Cornish beef, the Fisherman’s Friends, all mates from school days, who don’t wax their chests, or legs – just their upper lips.”

These are the Fisherman’s Friends, ten friends who all bar one grew up together in the beautiful fishing village of Port Isaac and have sung their unique “a cappella” style shanties as a hobby for twenty odd years. Never did they imagine that one day they would be spotted and signed for a million pounds and find themselves in the Top Ten along with Lady Gaga and Plan B.

“All of us old mates, close as a tin of pilchards, signed for a million pound record deal. Sounds like a dream come true? But some things aren’t worth risking for any amount of money,” continues Jon Cleave, the band’s MC and deep bass vocal who narrates this film telling the story of life long friends whose lives are turned upside down and friendships threatened, when they become an unlikely musical sensation.

Looking ahead as they were thrown into their new lives of recording, performing and promoting, Jeremy Brown (day job lobster fisherman) highlights a strongly shared feeling when he says, “If something was to happen to make one or more of the group fall out that would be the biggest tragedy of all.”

These prove to be prophetic words as the summer unfolds.

Despite the headline-hitting million pound deal, the men soon learn that almost all of this goes on launching and promoting the album and the reality is the men can’t afford to give up their day jobs. Between them they have a mix of jobs ranging from fishermen to builders. There’s a farmer, mechanic, window cleaner, shop keeper, potter and teashop owner. As the film shows, the demands of the music business put a massive strain on the men and, despite the fact their decades-long friendship has always been the most important thing to them all, cracks begin to form. Over the years the friends have supported one another through many difficult times, including the tragic deaths of two beloved wives, so when baker Nigel announces he’s leaving the band, the other men are shattered.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011, 10:35PM – 11:35PM