'Made In Sheffield instigated a broader debate on the music and identity of Sheffield.' Karlovy Vary International Film Festival 2005
"Wood presents an endearing portrayal of young people desperate to forge their own future..." -- Peter Relic, Rolling Stone
"The story told in director Eva Wood's documentary Made in Sheffield makes a valid argument that what happened in Sheffield during the late seventies and early eighties was a dramatic change in rock and roll." 8/10 Pop Matters
Mojo - "Fascinating"
Q Magazine - "Excellent...strangely passionate and moving"
Record Collector - "If you need a history lesson on
how sparks flew out of a barren industrial estate creating some
of pop's most influential music - then this is a must buy"
London Evening Standard - "A perfect textbook description
of how a musical scene develops, flowers and fades"
Guardian - 'fascinating...film-maker Eve Wood
gives a sense of what it was like to be young, creative and ambitious'
Slut - feature
- 'The definitive story...quarter of a century on & the
music still sounds like the future'
- 're-evaluates sheffield's place in pop history'
go to: features/edition003-dec2002/eve wood
In Sound - 'One of the most striking things about the
film is the way it conveys the sense of a musical community'
swedish radio item on Made In Sheffield and interview
DJ magazine - 'well worth a watch'
Online - 'collates a disparate music scene into fifty
minutes of interviews and footage of early performances.'
Night Waves - ' It captures
the spirit of that time flawlessly...
this film captures the essence of the seldomly explored aftermath
of punk. A great achievement.'
Post - ' social document of a time when Sheffield music
conquered the scene.'
International Documentary Festival - 'its a reminder
of the days when pop mattered'
Yorkshire Post 01-07-02:
the praises of Sheffield
A defining moment in the documentary, Made in Sheffield, comes when
a musician hurls his electric guitar from the balcony of one of
the city's high-rise blocks of flats.
It symbolises the innovation which was happening in Sheffield's
music scene in the heady days of the late Seventies and early Eighties,
when the band members joked: "We didn't even bother learning
the three chords we just used one finger."
There weren't many punk bands in Sheffield, but, as John Peel says
in the film, the city became imbued with the spirit of punk; Phil
Oakey, leader of Human League, long shorn of his funny haircut,
also acknowledges that punk was the catalyst for the explosion of
bands and live venues.
Film-maker Eve Wood has now produced and directed Made in Sheffield,
with her husband, Richard, as co-producer. They normally specialise
in films about climbing, but were stung into this documentary by
comments in the Press at the time of the opening of the National
Centre for Popular Music, suggesting that not much musically worthwhile
had come out of the city.
It's true that before 1977, the only household names were the legendary
Joe Cocker, and the balladeer, Tony Christie; but for a short while,
Sheffield dominated the charts almost as much as Merseybeat had
done two decades before.
The film not only celebrates the achievements of Human League, Heaven
17, Def Leppard, ABC and Cabaret Voltaire, but also long-forgotten
bands like 2.3, The Extras and Artery.
Jarvis Cocker, of Pulp, who continued the Sheffield success story,
recalls of the latter band, whose singer made a habit of rolling
around on stage like a dervish: "They were really intense;
they created an atmosphere where there was almost a bit of mild
hysteria going on."
And John Peel, with characteristic under-statement, concedes he
was "quite keen" on the band, and "can still derive
pleasure from them".
Pete Hartley, who was a sound technician for The Extras, must surely
have been the role model for Sheffield comic actor Graham Fellows'
creation, John Shuttleworth. Talking about the band's legendary
gigs at the Broadfield pub, he says, wistfully: "That must
have been a good time, but it's a bit of a blur," and he remembers:
"You had to fight to get your seat on the train to fame."
Sadly for their future careers, several of these bands headed down
to London to try to make their fortunes, while agents and others
with influence in the music business were heading up the M1 to investigate
the rumours about something exciting happening. What they came across
were the daring projects being undertaken by men like Oakey, Martyn
Ware and Chris Watson, of Cabaret Voltaire. Ware had recruited Oakey
for the first version of Human League because "he was a complete
renegade, I thought he was tall and would look good at the front",
and was startled when he came up with lyrics including words like
The band were heavily influenced by the German electronic wizards,
Kraftwerk, and came up with the concept of making music without
conventional instruments; they couldn't afford synthesisers, so
built their own. When the band's single, Being Boiled, reached the
charts, it startled the city.
Chris Watson says that what drove the tightly-knit community of
musicians was not only a desire to succeed, but also to escape from
what he regarded as "a vision of Hell", the steel industry
of the time.
"People in Sheffield always had an ear for something new, and
it's always been a special place for music," he says. "There
wasn't much to consume culturally, so we were forced to get somewhere
to express ourselves."
Martyn Ware says: "We were rubbish. We couldn't play music,
but we didn't form to make music, simply to have the enjoyment of
being part of a social group of people with similar aims."
Cabaret Voltaire used to perform from the back of a van, opening
the doors to let people hear the music. "We did one-off performances
in public toilets and other bizarre places," remembers Watson.
As the top bands began securing lucrative record deals and appearing
on Top of the Pops, and Human League was described as "the
future of pop music" by David Bowie, it seemed the band was
not big enough to accommodate both Oakey and Ware.
"It wasn't very pleasant, being dumped from your own band in
favour of ambition," says Ware. "I was shocked profoundly
for a long time."
He went on to form Heaven 17, while Oakey's recruitment of Susan
Gayle and Joanne Catherall, two schoolgirls who were dancing in
the audience, to make the number one hit, Don't You Want Me Baby,
is part of rock legend. While a handful of bands like his have enjoyed
continuing success, for the majority, the bubble burst.
A combination of rare archive footage and revealing interviews with
the famous and not-so-famous makes this not just an evocative film
for the rock anorak, but also a social document of a time when Sheffield
music conquered the scene.
Waves Canadian electronic magazine 17-09-02:
in Sheffield" is a documentary that details the evolution of
fertile Sheffield music scene as it unfurled between the late seventies
mid eighties. Sheffield, best known as an industrial, blue collar
famous for its steelworks and mines, also gave birth to some of
exciting and innovative bands of the past two decades. Groups like
Human League, Cabaret Voltaire, Pulp, Heaven 17 and Artery all came
northern British city.
film is an absolute must-see for anyone who has a serious interest
the early 80s British new wave scene. It captures the spirit of
flawlessly, primarily through interviews, archival photos and ultra
video footage. What's most intriguing is how much the interviewees
seemingly have not changed. The majority of them still seem to retain
youthful spark of creativity that was so omnipresent in their work
those being interviewed provide the element that really makes this
documentary so special. Phil Oakey comments about the Human League
"the punkiest band in Sheffield" and Chris Watson of Cabaret
explains the excitement and peculiar nature of early Cabaret Voltaire
performances (some apparently held in public toilets!) and Ian Craig
of Heaven 17 sums up the goal of the movement. "We wanted to
kill off rock
and roll". Stephen Singleton shares a comical anecdote about
couldn't show up for work one day because he had to appear on Top
Pops! Indeed, this film is loaded with endearing moments such as
giving us a humanic glimpse behind the revolutionary music.
great facet of this film is the extremely rare footage, particularly
of a Vice Versa appearance (they were an early incarnation of ABC),
Human League performing "The Path of Least Resistance"
on BBC TV, and
amateur footage of ABC's first live show. Afficianados will think
died and gone to new wave heaven.
Wood must be commended for directing such an important document
all too brief period in pop history. The film succeeds in pulling
directly into the Sheffield underground, complete with zines, night
weird bands, record labels operated from somebody's bedroom and
ambition and creativity that really made that period so special.
films have focused on the rise and fall of punk, yet this film captures
essence of the seldomly explored aftermath of punk. A great achievement.