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Worker Bee: meet Matt Greenhalgh, the Salford screenwriter behind Joy Division biopic Control


Matt Greenhalgh is an award-winning Salfordian screenwriter and director, with credits including the BBC TV series, Clocking Off and the ITV series, Cold Feet.

Following a successful career in TV comedy and drama, including as an assistant director on the groundbreaking series Queer as Folk, Matt began his film career with the release of Control in 2007.

A biopic of Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis, it won Best British Independent Film at the British Independent Film Awards.

Matt wrote The Look of Love, directed by Michael Winterbottom and starring Steve Coogan and Anna Friel, and more recently the screenplay to the film Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool, starring Annette Benning, Jamie Bell and Julie Walters, which was nominated for a BAFTA award for Best Screenplay.

He has also written and directed his own TV show, but he has also, he points out self-deprecatingly, “had LOTS of scripts NOT make it to the screen”.

He’s currently working on Twisting My Melon, a feature film about Shaun Ryder based on his autobiography, which will track the singer’s journey from a guitar-loving child to a leading light of Madchester‘s party scene. Actor Jack O’Connoll is attached to play Shaun. 

His short film She, about a woman with severe urban angst, will receive its world premiere at the Manchester International Film Festival on Tuesday 10th March.

Married to Nicola Shindler, whose MediaCityUK TV company RED is behind some of the most compelling and thought-provoking dramas on television, Matt lives, works and is constantly inspired by Manchester.

We caught up with him to find out more.

What got you started in your field of work?

I won a Salford schools short story competition when I was seven. I’ve always loved living in my mind…

Who have been your biggest influences?

Emily Bronte, and Shaun Ryder.

What is your proudest achievement so far?

Seeing Control for the first time in Cannes.

What does a typical day involve?

Sleeping. I write at night.

How do you relax on your days off?

The pub or the gym – I give both a lot of dedication.

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?

Get on with it. Soon be dead…

If things hadn’t worked out, what else could you have seen yourself doing?

Nightclub impresario. Miami or Middleton…

Tell us one thing about yourself people might be surprised to hear

I was the first tea-boy on Hollyoaks in the early ’90s. And, (I’m gonna have two), I ran my first Manchester Marathon with Steve Coogan.

Red or Blue?


Name your three favourite places in Manchester

Dimitri’s, Loreto College, and The Principal.

If you could change one thing about Manchester what would it be?

Chorlton… only kidding. I’d resurrect Tony Wilson.

What do you love most about Manchester?

Its revolutionary nature. And the people’s humour never ceases to crack me up.

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