Shane Meadows: ‘For many years I didn’t remember it… but it caused me a lifetime of anguish’ – The Guardian



I’ve interviewed director Shane Meadows a few times now, and it’s always been fun. He’s an entertaining person to spend an hour with: enthusiastic, emotional, funny, a natural talker. Plus there’s lots to talk about, as his work is great. From his first features, Small Time (1996) and A Room For Romeo Brass (1999), through Dead Man’s Shoes, into 2006’s This Is England and the three TV spin-off series that came out of that (This Is England 8688 and 90), as well as his Stone Roses comeback documentary, Made of Stone, Meadows makes brilliant British films and telly. He calls himself “kitchen sink”, but he’s a rare combination of artist, storyteller and near-documentarian who often uses his life growing up in Uttoxeter in Staffordshire as inspiration. His methods – lengthy casting process, lots of rehearsals – mean that he helps actors, and people who have never acted before, to give authentic and award-winning performances. His work leaves me in bits.

So I’m looking forward to seeing him again. Except that this interview turns out to be far from fun. It goes very dark, very quickly. If I were a continuity announcer, I’d say something like: the following contains content that some people might find upsetting.

Still, we start upbeat enough. We meet in the downstairs room of Nottingham’s Broadway Cinema, near to his home. Meadows has his foot in a medical boot – he has a running injury – but otherwise all is good; in a smart parka and jeans, he’s his usual ebullient self.