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Dek (Rhys Ifans) and Shirley (Shirley Henderson) live together with Marlene (Finn Atkins), Shirley's daughter by the sexy delinquent Jimmy (Robert Carlyle), who skeddadled years ago and hasn't been heard from since.

Decent-but-dull Dek loves Shirley so much that he humiliates her by proposing without warning on national television.. Jimmy witnesses Dek's TV proposal and he returns to town, convinced that his nerdy rival doesn't stand a chance against a renewed romantic assault from the great love of her life.

The race is on for Shirley's affections, and Dek's the one driving the Ford Sierra.

For his third feature film, acclaimed director Shane Meadows has gathered together a who's-who of British comedy talent to tell a quirky, heart-warming tale of big emotions in a small town.

this is england Stills



After A Room For Romeo Brass, Shane's next major project was the Shane's World collection of shorts for Channel4. One of the short films in the collection is a film about a boxer called Three Tears for Jimmy Prophet. It was this short film that became the original inspiration for Once Upon a Time in the Midlands.

When the main focus of the film was still to be about a boxer returning to society after a spell in prison, the film had a provisional title of Standing Eight Count.

Shane's love of Spaghetti Westerns was always intended to be incorporated into the story of the film, and eventually became a very prominent part of the films style.

The film had the biggest budget of all of Shane's films, and to compliment this, Shane wanted to work with actors that he had respected over the years. After previously only working with mostly unknown actors and smaller budgets, the big budget and the famous faces in the film were both challenges that Shane wanted to take on.

This is the only film on which Shane had to share final cut of the film. This is the main reason that Shane believes the film didn't turn out as well as he had hoped.



Shane Meadows appears as a bingo caller, and co-writer, Paul Fraser also appears as a staff member in the bingo hall.

Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer appear as two of the clowns in the punch-up near the beginning of the film.

The film was originally to feature a musical score written by Gavin Clark and members of Clayhill. Despite a number of tracks being written, Shane decided to go with a different score in the end.



BBC Audio Interview
Listen to Shane Meadow's talk about the release of Once Upon a Time In the Midlands on Radio 4's Back Row programme. Interviewed by Andrew Collins.

BBC Nottingham article
A brief article about the slightly disorganised English premiere of Once Upon a Time in the Midlands.

Dean Rogers Photography
Stunning collection of on-set photography from A Room For Romeo Brass, Once Upon a Time in the Midlands, and Dead Man's Shoes.

Once Upon a Time in the Midlands UK Premiere

Short article on

Sydney Morning Herald
Interview circa Once Upon a Time in the Midlands. Contains some different information regarding his past and inspiration for the film.
Interview circa the release of Once Upon a Time In the Midlands.
Interview circa the release of Once Upon a Time In the Midlands.

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Rhys Ifans


Robert Carlyle

Ricky Tomlinson

Kathy Burke

Shirley Henderson

Finn Atkins

Kelly Thresher

Andrew Shim

Vanessa Feltz


"Shane's World" 70 minutes featuring four short films and film making tips.

"Once Upon A Time Around Britain" 35 minute tour documentary.

Making of featurette.

Cast & Crew Interviews.

Deleted scenes and Out-takes.

Rehersal Footage.

Theatrical Trailer.

© 2007 Shane Meadows - All Rights Reserved
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