TELEVISION favourite Stephen Tompkinson has boarded a yacht at the Cannes Film festival to a gritty crime thriller set on Tyneside.
The Stockton-born star climbed aboard the boat at the harbourside in Cannes, where the 65th film festival is taking place, to drum up international sales for British-made Harrigan, which will premiere in the UK this autumn.
The story is based on real-life Tyneside policeman Arthur McKenzie who wrote the script.
Harrigan follows his experiences as he rose through the ranks of vice, beat, CID and Serious Crime Squad before retiring after 31 years as Detective Inspector in charge of the toughest division of Newcastle’s West End.
He has gone on to enjoy a second career as an award-winning scriptwriter and Harrigan is his first full-length movie.
He said: “This is my first time in Cannes and it’s fantastic, very glamorous.
“Harrigan’s themes are universal. It’s like a western but set in the 1970s and the Harrigan character is like a sheriff taking on the bad guys in a bid to clean up the streets.”
Stephen Tompkinson, who returns to the UK next week to continue filming the latest in the DCI Banks series in which he stars, says he would like to make more films.
“This is certainly a direction I would like to see my career developing in and Harrigan has been a marvellous role to play,” he said.
Stephen, who is also known for his roles in Drop the Dead Donkey and Wild at Heart, said: “Arthur is an absolute legend. He’s an incredible character and I’m honoured to try and fill the shoes of an amazing man who was a hard but compassionate policeman during a tremendously difficult period but really respected on the streets.”
He stars in the project as the hardened police sergeant who returns to his patch after an 18-month secondment in Hong Kong and finds there have been massive changes while he was gone.
The character is appalled by the lawlessness on the streets and saddened by the fear among the decent citizens he’s dedicated to protecting.
Tompkinson continued: “Harrigan sees the place he cares about has gone to rack and ruin and he needs to clean it up.
“He believes in a physical presence on the streets and he sets about taking on the bullies.”
In a twist reminiscent of a film plot, McKenzie’s daughter Kirsty Bell helped raise the $2m needed to finance the project and make her father’s dream of seeing his name on the credits of a film come true.
Harrigan will premiere in London and Newcastle in the autumn.