Fisherman's Friends

The Film

Fisherman's Friends is a 2020 British biographical comedy-drama, directed by Chris Foggin from a screenplay by Nick Moorcroft, Meg Leonard and Piers Ashworth.

The film is based on a true story about Port Isaac's Fisherman's Friends, a group of Cornish fishermen from Port Isaac, who were signed by Universal Records and achieved a top 10 hit with their debut album of traditional sea shanties.

A fast living, cynical London music executive reluctantly heads to Cornwall on a colleague’s stag weekend where he is pranked by his boss into trying to sign a group of shanty-singing fishermen. He becomes the ultimate ‘fish out of water’, struggling to gain the respect or enthusiasm of the unlikely band who value friendship and community over fame and fortune. Attempting to overcome the fishermen’s scepticism about the music business, he finds himself drawn into the community, has his integrity tested and is shown the meaning of loyalty, love and friendship. This forces him to re-evaluate what really matters in life, ultimately giving him the chance of a different kind of success.

Fisherman's Friends stars an ensemble cast headed by Daniel Mays, James Purefoy, David Hayman and Tuppence Middleton, with Noel Clarke, Dave Johns, Maggie Steed, Sam Swainsbury and Christian Brassington playing key supporting roles.

The film was produced by Nick Moorcroft, Meg Leonard and James Spring, who produced the hit film Finding Your Feet through their production companies Powder Keg Pictures and Fred Films.

Cinema Trailer



In 2010, the Fisherman's Friends performed live on the 'This Morning' programme. The film's writers and producers, Meg Leonard and Nick Moorcroft saw them perform, and contacted the group's manager and optioned their life rights with fellow producer, James Spring.


Filming commenced on location in Port Isaac, Cornwall, and then in London for five weeks. All members of the band have cameos in the film and worked as consultants on the film.


After its release in the UK, the film debuted at No 2 in the UK Box office chart, and has gone on to be one of the highest-grossing British films immediately following its release.


A sequel, about the band singing at Glastonbury, is in pre-production. The film will be called Fishermen's Friends 2: Bound for South Australia.


During the pub quiz in The Golden Lion several of the actual Fishermen's Friends can be seen in the opposing team.

After the pub quiz, Danny asks Alwyn who the first artist was to have a posthumous no.1 single in the UK. He seems impressed when she answers "Otis Redding". The correct answer is Buddy Holly (1959). Otis Redding has never had a no.1 single in the UK.

The film is dedicated to Fisherman's Friends singer Trevor Grills and tour manager Paul McMullen who both died after being hit by a heavy metal door in February 2013 whilst preparing for a concert at music venue G Live in Guildford, Surrey. A message before the end credits says 'For our friends Trevor and Paul'.

When Jago likens himself to the singer Bono, and mistakenly says "I'm Bonio". This is a brand of dog food.

A Fishermen's Friend is also a brand of medicinal lozenge, hence the double entendre in the waterside singing scene.

Stage Musical

'Fisherman's Friends: The Musical' is a stage musical with a book by Amanda Whittington, based on the true story and music of the Fisherman's Friends group and the film Fisherman's Friends.

Truro (2021)
In January 2021, it was announced the musical would have its world premiere at the Cornwall Playhouse in the Hall for Cornwall, Truro, with previews from 13 October, and with an official press night on 18 October, running until 30 October. This was the first production to open the theatre following a major £20 million refurbishment. The production was directed by James Grieve, designed by Lucy Osborne with musical supervision by David White. Full casting was announced on 12 September.

UK tour (2022-23)
Following the success of the Truro production, it was announced that the musical will tour the UK, opening at the Theatre Royal, Plymouth from 1 September 2022. Casting and further dates for 2023 are to be announced.



• Daniel Mays as Danny
• James Purefoy as Jim
• David Hayman as Jago
• Dave Johns as Leadville
• Sam Swainsbury as Rowan
• Tuppence Middleton as Alwyn
• Noel Clarke as Troy
• Christian Brassington as Henry
• Maggie Steed as Maggie
• Vahid Gold as Driss
• Jo Hart as Journalist
• Julian Seager as Trieve
• Christopher Villiers as Charles Montague
• Meadow Nobrega as Tamsyn
• Jade Anouka as Leah
• Ashley Bannerman as Nurse

Two-Michelin-starred Port Isaac chef Nathan Outlaw has a cameo role as a man who has unwisely parked his car where the tide can swamp it.


Island Records released the film's original soundtrack titled 'Keep Hauling - Music From The Movie'.

Track listing:

1. Keep Hauling
2. Nelson's Blood
3. John Kanaka
4. The Cost of High Barbary
5. South Australia
6. Little Liz I Love You
7. Widow Woman
8. Le Capitaine de San Malo
9. Blow the Man Down
10. Shanty Man
11. Oh You New York Girls
12.The 'Trelawny' National Anthem
13. The Leaving Shanty
14. No Hopers, Jokers & Rogues
15. Fisherman's Blues
16. (What Shall We Do with the) Drunken Sailor
17. Union of Different Kinds