Town stars in student movie

Film crew at The Cherry Gardens pub with locals and extras
Film crew at The Cherry Gardens pub with locals and extras
Share this article

LIGHTS, camera, action ... and a pint of bitter please.

When young independent film-maker students from Hertfordshire decamped to a Wigan pub as a set for a comedy drama, they were anxious to ensure that the place looked like a realistically busy borough local.

So they put a £100 free drinks tab behind the bar for “extras” to enjoy liquid refreshment as their mingling and laughter became a bubbling backdrop for the movie.

It is a bitter sweet comedy about a man preparing for his own funeral, Gone Fishing.

They decided on The Cherry Gardens in Wigan Lane because the scriptwriter knows the pub from her former days in Wigan.

The film will also feature scenes shot at the Bel Air Hotel, the Museum of Wigan Life, Wigan Parish Church, Leigh Sailing Club at Pennington Flash and various more locations yet to be confirmed.

They are promoting eight local businesses within the film as a way of funding.

Last year, films shown at the Visions Festival were eventually broadcast on ITV and Channel 4.

Even if it doesn’t earn a slot on TV, it will be shown in festivals throughout the country in June, especially in Manchester and northern regions.

The team has already had the entry accepted into London’s prestigious Visions Festival which is attended by the Beeb, ITV and Warner Bros commissioning executives to name but a few.

And hopes are high that it may yet earn an eventual TV broadcast release.

Producer Matthew Critchfield, 21, a third year film student revealed that the team chose Wigan after being advised that it had many suitable locations and backdrops in a comparatively compact urban area.

Matthew, whose favourite director is Tim Burton, said: “I am creating a bitter-sweet comedy drama based around Wigan.

“It tells the story of a dying man and his reconciliation with his family before he goes and his attempts to make sure his send-off is the best funeral this side of Wigan has ever seen.

“The film is aimed to show the character’s connection with the community and I believe Wigan has had a bit of a bad press nationally so if we can improve on that, so much the better.

“There was a good turnout of people at the Cherry Gardens to make up the extras and Wigan really measured up for our locations.”

By pure coincidence Billinge-born film-maker Chris Jones was shortlisted for an Oscar with a short feature called Gone Fishing which includes a man at a funeral.