BIOGRAPHY

Eddy Marshall

‘How do you get to do what you do?’

I love the moving image. I also have a particular, deep and abiding love for music, both the listening and playing of - but the moving image illuminates my imagination and my heart, like nothing else.

Right from from early childhood in Morecambe in Lancashire I developed a square-eyed love for the television and shortly thereafter of the local cinema. Love came in at the eye.

My tastes were (and are) eclectic, ranging from a formative afternoon TV encounter with the black and white Henri-Georges Clouzot thriller The Wages of Fear, to Jon Pertwee-era Dr Who and everything in between, from 70s sitcoms to Plays for Today. If it was on TV, it got watched, thoroughly.

The first film I saw at the cinema was Waterloo, which made an impression, especially when Lord Uxbridge got his leg blown off: “My God Sir, I’ve lost my leg.” “My God, so you have.” Later, seeing films like Jaws, Performance, Apocalypse Now and Blade Runner on a big screen blew my mind. Without being too grand, these were experiences that lodged deep and stayed permanently.

 

However, it never occurred to me that making films or TV was an actual job I could do. That, it seemed, was another world. I did know anyone in that world and I didn’t know anyone who knew anyone in that world.

 

At 19, with no clear idea of what to do with my life, I went off to spend two years studying drama.    This was long enough to know that I didn’t want to act, although it’s given me a lifelong love and understanding of actors and the particular joys and stresses of performance.

Sometimes not having a clear plan is a good thing. Not knowing what single thing to do, I did lots of different things. I acted, directed theatre, wrote, read a lot, watched a lot of films, worked and travelled, busked and played in bands and, in 1986, hired a VHS video camera from Radio Rentals and made a pop promo, which I crash-edited on two domestic video recorders. It was rough but it worked.

With no idea how to turn my growing love of film or TV into a job, I did an undergraduate degree at Leeds University in Cultural Studies and Media, during which I shot and edited more work, then on graduation moved from there to several years working for Leeds International Film Festival (LIFF).

 

At LIFF I was variously the Press Officer, wrote the Festival brochure, researched strands and films, attended events and met distributors, managed venues and projected 16mm films. I watched a lot of films and, for two weeks each year, met a lot of filmmakers. I also oversaw the Festival’s short film strand, which meant watching around 100 short film submissions. I learned that the ratio of good to weak short films was low.

At this point, I came to a fork in the road. By 1995, the post of Festival Director had come vacant and I was asked if I was going to apply. However, a film school had opened its doors in Leeds a three years earlier, the Northern School of Film & Television (NSFTV), now the Northern Film School.

I’d projected their 16mm graduation films and got to know the late, great, lovely Barry Callaghan, who was the Head of Course. One day in the spring of 1995, I crossed the film school’s threshold, told Barry I wanted to join the directors’ one year post-graduate course and, after a lot of to-ing and fro-ing, was accepted onto the course, and began that September.

In short, I traded being a curator of other people’s creativity for the chance to exercise my own and, despite this not being an easy life choice, I don’t regret it. As soon as I started directing my graduation film, The Ring (see below), all the varied things I’d done before, all now became useful. I felt like I’d finally come home and for me there’s little to equal the satisfaction of creating a good piece of work, whatever it happens to be.

Coming back to the above question of how you get to do what you do, there is of course no one answer but for me the main factor was confidence.

Even when I was directing theatre, or making little films on video, it would have felt too grand to me to say I wanted to professionally direct film or TV and it took me until I was 32 years old to commit and go to film school. Self-belief, however a person finds it, is essential. It’s the mast that you cling to in a storm. Despite a lot of ups and downs, inevitable rejections and reversals, if the work is good, you proceed.

Anyway, I exited the NSFTV in 1996 with what became an award-winning short film and a decent second film, moved to London and got an agent and over a very diverse career, I’ve directed close to 70 hours of single camera UK television, won two awards created lots of other shorts, pilots, music promos, commercial projects and all manner of moving image artifacts. I now live up a hill in Cumbria overlooking Morecambe Bay with my very wise and funny wife Claire and our excellent ten year-old son John Ignatius, AKA Iggy. In addition to directing, I’m a competent producer, editor (Premiere Pro), writer, composer and, when absolutely necessary, actor.

TELEVISION: In addition to 108 episodes of the Channel 4 continuing drama Hollyoaks, including the late night Hollyoaks: Back From The Dead, I've directed episodes of BBC's Cavegirl, Holby City and Doctors, Sky's Dream Team and in 2007 directed the last-ever episode of Grange Hill.

The films below are a selection of mainly older work. I’m in the process of putting together clips from more recent work and this site will be updated again soon.                                    APRIL 2022

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Eddy, Cumbria 2022

FILMOGRAPHY

SELECTED

THE RING
October 2023

The Ring was my first proper film, it's now 25 years old and although my phone now shoots better quality images than the Northern School of Film & Television's aged Aaton, grainy 16mm film definitely has a look and charm all of its own. The Ring got me going as a filmmaker and it's still fun to watch, it won The Best British Production award at the 1997 British Short Film Festival and had numerous TV and festival screenings. I wrote and played  the opening music and that's me singing over the end credits, so brace yourself. [16mm 13 mins]

THE EGG - 'GETTING AWAY WITH IT'

While working at Chaos I won a pitch to make this promo for The Egg. The film features the band in pursuit of a McGuffin package and I wrote the film around the cover of The Egg's then-current album Travelator, which features a woman's feet in white heels, standing on a travelator:

 

 

 

The film retro-engineers a story to explain the image and I also like the way we got the the lyric, 'Orange flashing light, it's a minicab site' to sync with the same on screen. [16mm 4 mins ]

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HOLLYOAKS - 'AFGHAN FLASHBACK'
September 2023

I've worked on Hollyoaks on and off for 16 years, so far directing 103 episodes in total, including a Christmas episode and four late night special eps, 'Hollyoaks: Back From The Dead', with Warren Brown nominated for 'Best Exit' at the 2006 British Soap Awards. Hollyoaks was a great place to push boundaries and try new ideas. Producer Lucy Martin allowed me to add unscripted visual elements to this scene on the proviso that they didn't compromise the budget or the schedule (they didn't). We got help from the local Territorial Army unit, some of whom had served in Afghanistan, and avoided the cost of an armorer by making flat painted outlines of the soldiers' rifles. After transmission the scene was immediately echoed by the lead Channel 4 news story about the effects the war on both Afghans and British personnel. The news footage was a strange mirror of what we'd created in the show. As a piece of filmmaking it's very much the art of the possible but it was an interesting opportunity to explore a contemporary story in a timely, relevant way. [HD 3'20]

SICK PARTY

Sick Party is an educational drama I wrote, directed and co-produced for Leeds-based charity Basis. Sick Party is aimed at 12-16 year- old girls and warns of the hazards of the 'party' model of grooming. The script was based on identity-redacted case studies provided by Basis and the performances were part workshopped and improvised. The film is central to a national training pack which has sold over 1,000 copies to schools andyouth organisations and raised over £50K for Basis. Sick Party is probably the most disturbing film I've made, not because it's graphic but because the threat is believable and insidious. The film was made on a low budget with a crew of recent graduates from the Northern Film School. [HD 15 mins]

UK GOLD - 'SCHADENFREUDE'

Off the back of The Ring I signed to commercials production company Chaos. We had fun filming this test spot for UK Gold in Wales' Black Mountains with fake cow piss and a rain machine. The script was based on a pitch by TBWA and the sepulchral voiceover was delivered by the late, great Philip Madoc. [16mm 45 secs]

THE WRECK OF THE MARY CELESTE

This period piece set in 70s Hull was a UK Film Council Digital Short and the first one to be shot on HD. It's an early film by cinematographer George Steel, it won the Sweet Success award at the Sweet HD Film Festival in 2004 and was nominated for the Directors' Guild of Great Britain Best Short Film in 2005. It was screened at the National Film Theatre's Digital Test Bed and was also taken on by the UK Film Council for festival screenings. [HD 10 mins]

HOLLYOAKS - 'ESTHER'S SUICIDE'
January 2023

This Hollyoaks episode dealt showed the culmination of a long-running storyline around bullied lesbian teen Esther. During pre-production I worked closely to advisory notes provided by The Samaritans, whose brief was not to make the suicide attempt look in any way attractive, as imitative behaviour is a serious concern among younger viewers. In directing the ep, the intention was to create an alienating  feeling of watching something deeply wrong and unpleasant, within the limitations of a pre-watershed show. The central performance was internalised, the framing often spare and the music by Evelyn Glennie deliberately emotionally distancing. The episode created a sensation among Hollyoaks’ fans, with a Twitter meltdown and the highest viewing figures for two years, plus strong positive feedback from The Samaritans and the Chief Medical Officer of Great Britain. [HD 22'30]

SOMETHING TO BELIEVE IN

Written by playwright Robert Farquhar, Something To Believe In was one of a series of three minute films commissioned by Channel 4 in collaboration with Liverpool's Everyman Theatre to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin and the 150th anniversary of the publication of On The Origin of Species. The film features the excellent Paul Copley as a Darwinist street preacher aided by Shaun Mason. It's a nice, upbeat reset if you've watched Sick Party beforehand. [HD 3 mins]

DREAM TEAM - 'THE WEDDING SINNER'

The films listed here are in largely chronological order but this slice of Sky's much-missed serial football drama Dream Team should really go between The Wreck Of The Mary Celeste and Hollyoaks. It's placed here because it's a fun way to finish, featuring that perennial serial drama favourite of things going pear-shaped at the altar. The ep was edited by Tim Porter, who went on to become lead editor on Game of Thrones. [HD 20'40]

'The Ring'

BRITISH

SHORT FILM

FESTIVAL

1997

UCI CINEMAS BEST BRITISH PRODUCTION AWARD

Top prize out of 3,500 entries.

'The Wreck Of The Mary Celeste'

SWEET HD FILM FESTIVAL

2004

SWEET HD
SWEET SUCCESS AWARD

Top prize at Edinburgh in this festival of High Definition films.