Director of hit Netflix film slammed over vile Northern stereotypes

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The director of a film that was criticised for having “vile Northern stereotypes” has defended his work after it appeared on UK Netflix’s most-watched list.

Chris Green directed and wrote “Strangeways Here We Come” which has been dubbed a “Shameless rip-off” by critics.

The 2018 dark comedy centres on a group of council estate residents in Salford, Greater Manchester, dealing with an “evil” loan shark and their plot to strike back.

Following its release, it received zero stars from the Times and a one-star review from The Guardian.

However, four years later and despite being panned by critics, the film is enjoying success on UK Netflix after appearing on the most-watched list and reaching number nine, reports Manchester Evening News.

Michelle Keegan plays a timid-turned-murderous university student Demi.

Other high-profile stars include Stephen Lord as the loan shark; Chanel Cresswell and Perry Fitzpatrick of This Is England; and Misfits actor Lauren Socha.

Chris, who grew up in Lower Broughton in Salford, Greater Manchester, has defended the movie against suggestions that it was promoting degrading stereotypes of the working class.

The plot was originally derived from the 55-year-old’s own experiences as a postman at Salford Precinct and was produced with a microbudget of just a couple of hundred thousand pounds.

“I think [the critics] had this idea that I was this middle-class filmmaker coming into the area to exploit the working class,”  he told the Manchester Evening News.

“This was made by someone who lived there. Growing up on Spike Island, we saw a lot of violence. I can honestly say that 90 per cent of what you see in that film is true stuff I’ve seen, stuff I’ve experienced, or know about. Apart from the murder, obviously.”

Despite the struggles he experienced growing up, Chris, who now lives in Whitefield, Bury, expressed a lot of pride in having come from the area.

“When [the film] came out, it was like putting Salford on the map,” he said.

“At the end of the day, all those unsavoury characters who are a bit brutal, are part of a community.

“When the chips are down, like the Salford communities I remember, they all come together to help each other out.”

Unafraid to admit to his mistakes, however, Chris said: “When I came up with the idea, it was from a postman’s point of view, but then it just expanded and went a bit crazy.

“There were far too many characters, this massive ensemble piece, which was far too much to take on as a first film. But you live and learn.”

Chris has since gone on to write and direct “The Pebble and the Boy” in 2021.

He also directed “Me, Myself and Di”, a comedy starring Larry Lamb released that same year, and is the founder of Shout to the Top Productions.

Responding to its recent success, Chris said: “I’m glad for everyone involved, and I’m proud to have come from Salford and being able to turn my experiences into entertainment.

“I’m not a multi-millionaire, but I am doing the job that I love: writing for film and TV and telling the stories that inspire me.”

One IMDB user recently commented: “This is one of the better British comedy movies I’ve seen in recent times.

“It was pretty good. It had an interesting plot that we haven’t actually seen before.”

And on Facebook, viewers showed their support, as one person called the movie “totally relatable and funny”, while another wrote: “[The] characters were brilliant. Laughed my socks off.”

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