Borough film-maker hopes to lift lockdown spirits with new comedy

Paul Blinkhorn, from Atherton, is the writer and director of The Man at the Bottom of the Garden which is being released online.

Monday, 15th March 2021, 9:52 am
Atherton film-maker Paul Blinkhorn. Photo: Paul Heyes

Paul wrote the script in response to a BBC competition looking for work on the theme of isolation in response to the country first going into lockdown to tackle the novel coronavirus.

He got down to the final 50 out of some 7,000 submissions and decided he had enjoyed penning in and exploring the characters so much that he wanted to work on filming it.

Put together remotely, the film tells the story of Jess, who is checking in on her parents Marji and Joe.

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A scene from The Man at the Bottom of the Garden

Jess is told that her dad is in isolation at the bottom of the garden, but everything is not quite what it initially seems.

Paul said: “The competition was for projects that could be done without a film crew going into people’s houses and I wanted something to do over lockdown.

“It was nice to write a comedy because I would like to think that’s what audiences want right now.

“Heavy dramas have their place but something lighter which still has something to say while not being too much of a strain is what we need at the moment.

“It’s all recorded over Zoom and we really lucked out with the cast.

“I don’t think it will date but I do think it’s very much a short film about now. We’re looking at things getting back to some degree of normality by June and this has an optimism and hopefulness to it.”

To bring The Man at the Bottom of the Garden to the screen Paul teamed up with producer Karen Newman, who he met at Bolton Film Festival three years ago.

The impressive cast includes Denise Black, who was in shows ranging from Coronation Street and Emmerdale to Queer as Folk, Paul Bradley who will be known to TV watchers as Dr Elliott Hope in Holby City, and Clare Calbraith who was recently in ITV’s Unforgotten.

Casting director Ben Cogan, who has some 20’ years experience in the industry, was responsible for assembling the talent on screen.

The team are able to release The Man at the Bottom of the Garden online to get it in front of audiences while physical film events are still on hold due to coronavirus restrictions.

They are hopeful the film will be able to do the rounds of the festival circuit when it resumes.

Paul is currently part of Creative England’s Ideate programme and has had his award-winning short films screened internationally, including at a festival in the Albanian capital city of Tirana.

The Man at the Bottom of the Garden has an online release on Tuesday, March 16.

To view the film, visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=HkJCB60w2gY&feature=youtu.be

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