Writer and director Dan Cadan reminisces about the golden age of British wrestling with his feature debut Walk Like a Panther, a so-called comedy set in Yorkshire. Mark Bolton (Stephen Graham) is the cheeky-chappy landlord of The Half Nelson, the local drinking den frequented by a group of former grapplers known as the Panthers. When the beloved pub’s future is threatened by devilish developer Paul Peterson (Stephen Tompkinson), Mark turns to his dad Trevor (Dave Johns) and the rest of the gang to save the day.
Veteran filmmaker Ken Loach has provided a social commentary through his work in British cinema for decades, from his kitchen sink dramas to historical pieces. His latest feature unfolds very much in the present day as he returns from retirement to direct I, Daniel Blake, written by frequent collaborator Paul Laverty. Geordie comedian turned actor Dave Johns stars in the titular role, as a carpenter who has suffered a major heart attack. Following his doctor’s orders, he is deemed unfit to work but after a frustrating call-centre conversation with a so-called “healthcare professional”, he fails to meet the required specifications to receive sickness benefits. This leads him to the job centre where he meets single mother-of-two Katie (Hayley Squires) who is in an equally strenuous situation caused by the government’s flawed systems. The unlikely pairing unite in their time of hardship and together they attempt to overcome adversity.