The Filleting Machine (1981)

Amber Films

Tom Hadaway’s fishing industry script, set on North Shields’ Ridges Estate (later renamed Meadow Well) the film represents Amber’s first drama.

Hadaway had a close relationship with Amber, writing the screenplays for Seacoal(1985) and In Fading Light (1989), as well as episodes for some of Shields Stories (1988). The Filleting Machine was written for Amber in the 1970s, along with The Pigeon Man. Both were adapted for the stage, Murray Martin producing and directing tours of working men’s clubs with Live Theatre, the Newcastle-based company that was associated with Amber at the time. An excerpt from a stage version is included in 1980’s Tyne Lives. Amber made the film the following year. Channel 4 purchased it in 1982, when when Amber’s Workshop franchise began, commissioning a contextualising programme that would also demonstrate the group’s integrated practice. As Amber was making the film, Side Gallery commissioned Nick Hedges to document the North Shields fishing industry.

Amber, 45 mins, 1981

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