- Wild at Heart (2006-2012)
- DCI Banks (2011)
- Prime Suspect (2006)
- Ballykissangel (1998)
- Brassed Off (1996)
Amongst the desperation and fear growing in a crime ridden estate, one man becomes embroiled into saving what community life exists. It’s early 1974, power cuts and miner strikes cripple the country. Police resources are centralised and many stations are closed bringing added tension to an already demoralised force. Everything it seems is falling apart along with the community’s only hope and protector, Detective Sergeant Barry Harrigan. Returning from a secondment in Hong Kong he re-joins the his old team and quickly realises the chaos is spreading like a disease. Taking matters into his own hands he faces a local gang led by the psychotic Dunstan. We learn their past is inter-linked and that Harrigan gradually becomes more mentally unhinged than his enemies. All the time he tries to retain his sanity by writing letters to his daughter. But when news carries that Harrigan’s old friend and former colleague is beaten to death, his mission to discover who did it and gain justice becomes all consuming.
The initial story Arthur, shared with me instantly took me to a photograph
I had kept for over 25 years. That of a lone Polish striker standing in
the middle of this long rubble-strewn street weapon-less against a large
line of men. Many of the characters are based on real people, and the story
based around actual events that Arthur experienced, in fact made happen.
As in Fort Apache The Bronx which was also based on experiences of the writer
again a policeman.
There has always been something about someone ‘making a difference’ and for me that has to be a positive difference, good fighting bad. I wanted it in the classic western setting of a relative loner arriving in a new place or specifically a changed place. Having moved for much of my childhood, new schools, new places and standing up for myself I sense it helped connect me with the loner, epitomised in the first real book I read ‘Shane’. I love to get enveloped in that character’s journey. They won’t be beaten whether it’s a tree stump or a gang of outlaws; they just have to do it their way or will die trying. I wanted Harrigan to do this and in a way that reflected his responsibilities beyond just policing. My influences in style are from classic westerns such as High Plains
Drifter where Clint Eastwood walks into town and is asked to be Sheriff. He gets the townsfolk to literally paint the town red. ‘Welcome to hell’ the sign says. All exteriors I wanted to be at night, film noire style like the The Big Sleep and Blade Runner in which the nearly all the day time scenes are interiors. I could not help referencing Get Carter shot in 1970 only 4 years from our setting. The exact time frame I chose was January and February 1974 – foggy short days and long cold nights. A 3-day working week , power cuts and mass coal strikes. Make no mistake, for many trapped in concrete blocks this was a very tough time. Our story reflects the generations in policing, the circle of life in the force. We have three generations, Billy the catalyst for the film, Harrigan and Lau all slightly different,, fighting internal and external battles.
The retro-style Harrigan T-shirt on sale now For £15.00 + P&P - £2.95
Click here to buy the Harrigan T-shirt Now!
See the first 1970 drama Bait Room by Arthur McKenzie and Vince Woods
Click here to purchase including Interviews and Festival Cut
Arthur’s early career was as a policeman in Newcastle upon Tyne, rising
up the ranks through beat, vice, CID, Serious Crime Squad and Investigating
Corruption in Hong Kong. He retired after 31 years as Detective Inspector
in charge of the toughest division of Newcastle’s West End. During his
career he was commended on 27 occasions for exemplary police work ranging
from national drugs busts, disarming mentally deranged persons to clearing
up major crime. He was cited on two separate occasions for saving life.
Running parallel with this career he was also an international athlete from 1962 to the mid eighties competing as a regular member of the Great Britain team in the discus and shot events and was placed 4th in the 1970 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh. A small sample of his credits include: 24 episodes of popular long running series The Bill, many detective series such as Wycliffe including specials and the 2 part episode Directed by the lead Jack Shepherd who insisted on Arthur as the writer. Arthur also wrote for Spender and penned several stage plays.
“Arthur McKenzie, is a remarkable man, with an incredible, larger-than-life,
life-story. Harrigan is based on real life events as a 'proper copper'
in Newcastle in the 1970's. He is a compelling writer and storyteller.
Harrigan himself is like a beacon of hope in a neglected lawless area
and symbolic of the times when the visible, physical presence of one
policeman, let some sleep safer and others to look over their shoulder
and watch their step.
To have been given this opportunity, by TallTree to appear in this brilliant script, to say Arthur's words and walk in his shoes is an inspirational honour and privilege. Filming Harrigan, set in my native North East, is like a dream come true.”
Kirsty’s background is in strategic tax advice and as a Chartered
After graduating in law, she trained and spent much of her career in top ten accountancy firms, ultimately becoming a Strategic Tax Partner. She subsequently launched her own jointly owned firm Integral Strategies (UK) Limited.
Since 1996 she has been heavily involved in all aspects of Film Finance – raising over £100m in the last 14 years for the industry. Kirsty specializes in the structuring of film companies and their finance raises, including EIS, together with advising active sole traders in the industry.
In 2008 she became Commercial Director of TallTree Pictures Limited. In 2011/12 she was Producer on their feature film “Harrigan” and solely responsible for the private equity raised on the project . With first hand producer experience, expert knowledge and success on tax credits she brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to TallTree.
She is also a Partner at Nyman Libson Paul Chartered Accountants based in London as Head of Film and Media - Kirsty Bell joins Nyman Libson Paul.
Vince originally studied Fine Art specialising in animation and
experimental film. He went on to work in corporate and TV commercial
productions writing, directing and producing for blue chip companies
from Nike to Procter & Gamble. I gained skills and knowledge in multimedia
in the nineties and spun out a leading arts and technology based events
company. In parallel to this he developed and produced films receiving
European Union MEDIA programme support for CALUM's ROAD, (A true story
of one man’s 20 year fight against bureaucracy by building a 2 mile
cliff top road by himself), which is his next feature.
Productions included co-Directed ‘Carrickfergus United’ for Sky following Catholic and Protestant Manchester United supporters during their treble winning season in 1999. In 2009 he set up TallTree Pictures and Produced and Directed Bait Room a 24’ period drama. He has just finished Directing the feature HARRIGAN a crime/action/period film set in 1974. He is associate and Executive Producer on the features IF I WERE YOU starring Marcia Gay Harden and on SPARKS & EMBERS. Much of his feature film projects are based on true stories/events.
Screenings for Sept and Oct have now finished and we are now having individual screenings in Newcastle and London In Dec and January 2014.
Genesis Cinema, Whitechapel, London
Q&A with Writer Arthur McKenzie (who’s life the film is based on) and Director Vince Woods.
Tickets are now on sale on 0207 780 2000 or www.genesiscinema.co.uk/comingsoon.php
or direct booking link
Live Theatre, Newcastle
With singer from the movie Hayley McKay pre-screening, then post screening an audience with Stephen Tompkinson and Writer Arthur McKenzie.
Tickets available now
Asda - Harrigan DVD
Virgin Film Flex, Xbox, Playstation, Blinkbox, Google, BT Vision, iTunes.
Blinkbox - Harrigan
Further screenings and stores to be announced.
Highly charged face-offs between law and anarchy….. Compelling.
Stephen Tompkinson lights up this dark and melancholy thriller. With a strong sense of its own identity, the well structured script provides tension and a violent finale.
There are some extravagant scenes, almost operatic in their excess, such as the Amazing Grace intoned bloody murder of a police grass, or the knife-brandishing fervour of a scab father pushed to the brink. Great performances from the film’s leads.
Woods keeps it compulsively watchable thanks to well chosen locations, James McAleer’s Scope camerawork and a keen awareness of the situation’s visual and dramatic potential. Stephen Tompkinson is wholly convincing as the greying, outwardly hard as nails Harrigan. His sensitive resolution of a hostage situation involving seven foot Ronnie pays dividends in the siege driven climax. If the latter shamelessly steals from Assault On Precinct 13, John Carpenter in turn borrowed from Rio Bravo, and it’s not hard to imagine Harrigan being convincingly relocated to a Wyoming frontier town, lock, stock and still-smoking barrel.
Despite the '70s setting, Harrigan’s no macho cartoon like Gene Hunt, he’s a compassionate man with a fierce social conscience ... Tompkinson’s innate humanity and soulfulness lending Harrigan heart as well as steel. Conway’s Dunston the type of thoroughly creepy small town psycho you never want to jostle in a pub. Moodily directed by Woods and written by former police detective McKenzie, who brings a gritty authenticity to the piece, there are obvious parallels between the economic wasteland of the '70s and the mess we’re currently in, the ashes of Call-Me Dave’s Big Society as cold and inhospitable as the Winter of Discontent. While the film at times betrays its small screen origins, Harrigan is a tough, no-nonsense little thriller that punches above its weight a lot like its protagonist.
Tompkinson is solid and likeable in the title role and there’s a very spirited performance from veteran Maurice Roëves as Billy, Harrigan’s best mate from the olden days. The very effective climax, where Harrigan and his team are besieged in the newly opened police station he has set up in the gang’s territory, is reminiscent of John Carpenter’s urban western, Assault on Precinct 13. The film is also disturbingly but justifiably violent in places. If Tompkinson were prepared to commit to another long term police role after DCI Banks. The character of Harrigan certainly has enough meat in it to carry such a series.
Certainly a captivating piece of cinema – with a real classic British drama feel about it. Tompkinson excels. Not only does he have a well crafted character to work with, but he brings the perfect amount of stern brutality to the role, while remaining likeable and vulnerable throughout. At times he appears infallible and hard as nails, and at other points he is calm and pensive, as his age and pending retirement comes into play.
The first thing that strikes the viewer about police drama, ‘Harrigan’ is the ‘faithful old 70’s look’ the film has been given. Arthur McKenzie’s writing is intelligent and insightful throughout. ‘Harrigan’ deserves to do well on the strength of its writing and character portrayal alone.
Filmed in Newcastle-upon-Tyne there is no question about the film’s locational authenticity, and there can be no doubt that when it comes to nitty-gritty police dramas, no one does them as well as the British. All in all Harrigan is an entertaining watch.
It would be a crime not to see more of Detective Harrigan. This stylish debut feature links a series of storylines that feel uncomfortably real, although much of the violence is kept out of shot.
Sharp and brutal, Harrigan is a crime thriller set in 1974, in Newcastle. Like a strong punch to your gut, this film will hold you captive and take you back on a journey to a destitute 70's
The Gazette — ‘Stephen Tompkinson: Teesside actor promotes new film Harrigan at the Arc in Stockton’ October 2013 — read more
Sight and Sound Magazine — ‘Harrigan Review by Michael Brooke’ September 2013 — press cutting
Sky Tyne and Wear — ‘North East Crime Drama Movie 'Harrigan' Premieres In Durham’ September 2013 — read more
Hartlepool Mail — ‘A violent tale of 70s Britain’ September 2013 — read more
Film Land Empire — ‘Harrigan - Policing the Hard Way in the 70's ’ September 2013 — read more
Barbara Hodgson – Newcastle Journal — Harrigan film turns focus on North East crime in the seventies September 2013 — read more
The Journal — ‘Cop Harrigan toughs it out in the bleak world of Newcastle crime in the seventies’ September 2013 — press cutting
The Journal — ‘New film is no cop out’ September 2013 — press cutting
Screen Jabber — ‘Harrigan review by David Watson’ September 2013 — read more
Britflicks — ‘Jane Foster Talks To ‘HARRIGAN’ Writer Arthur McKenzie’ September 2013 — read more
Morning star — ‘Harrigan Review ’ September 2013 — press cutting
NE1 Magazine — ‘All action with Harrigan’ September 2013 — press cutting
Sunderland Echo — ‘Sunderland bobby’s tales on the big screen’ September 2013 — read more
Indie London — ‘Harrigan - Arthur McKenzie interview’ September 2013 — read more
The Northern Echo — ‘Durham red carpet premiere for Tompkinson detective drama’ September 2013 — read more
Hartlepool Mail — ‘Interview with Harrigan star Stephen Tompkinson’ September 2013 — read more
Hartlepool Mail — ‘Harrigan puts Hartlepool on movie map’ September 2013 — read more
Sky Tyne and Wear — ‘One Man's Mission To Save What Community Life Still Exists’ — read more
The Sunday Sun — ‘Star set to turn-out for Harrigan Premiere’ — press cutting
The Sunday Sun — ‘Stephen Tompkinson new film trailer to feature at Cannes Film Festival’ May 2012 — read more
The Journal — ‘Selling a dream of Crime hit Tyneside on the Riviera’ May 2012 — read more
The Sun — ‘Stephen has copped off’ May 2012 — read more
Daily Express — ‘Stephen Tompkinson throws himself into Harrigan’ May 2012 — read more
Belfast Telegraph — ‘TV star Tompkinson eyes film role’ — read more
Daily Mirror — ‘Sew Content – Costume designer loves her film roles’ May 2012 — read more
Culture, The Journal — ‘Long arm of the Law hits screens at last’ January 2012 — read more
The Gazette — ‘Harrigan hits the screen at last’ January 2012 — read more
The Hollywood Reporter — UK crime thriller ‘Harrigan’ attracts million cash investment’ January 2012 — read more
Screen Daily — ‘Stephen Tompkinson to star in Harrigan’ January 2012 — read more
The Knowledge — ‘Shooting to begin on Harrigan’ January 2012 — read more
The Journal — ‘Stephen Tompkinson to star in crime film set in North East’ July 2011 — read more
‘ITV’ — The Alan Titchmarsh Show with actor Stephen Tompkinson — view video
‘BBC’ — Sharuna Sagar's report on new film Harrigan’ — view video
‘BBC Breakfast’ — Sharuna Sagar's report on Arthur McKenzie, the writer of Harrigan — view video
‘BBC Breakfast’ — Interview with Stephen Tompkinson — view video
‘This Morning’ — Interview with Stephen Tompkinson — view video