Filming on Paul Sykes movie could start in Wakefield this summer

The £2 million movie about notorious Wakefield man Paul Sykes could start filming this summer, according to an author involved with the production.

Friday, 14th May 2021, 7:26 am
Sykes was as brutal outside the ring.

Jamie Boyle has written several books on Sykes, who is perhaps the city's most infamous character, and says the cameras could start rolling in the coming months.

Independent film makers, Western Edge Pictures, are behind the project and are lining up a known TV actor to take the starring role.

Mr Boyle, who will be advising on the film, said the company is planning to film in Wakefield, including the Lupset estate where Sykes lived, Pontefract and Leeds.

Production was delayed by the pandemic, but he is confident it is now back on track.

He said: "It is going to happen, one-million per cent, and it will capture a lot of Wakefield.

"The best time to make a film is in the summer.

"Western Edge Pictures are working on a film at the moment and they say as soon as that has finished, they will throw everything at Sykes.

"The script has been written and it will start from 1989 when he was 43-year-old."

Sykes became a professional boxer in his younger years and unsuccessfully fought for the British and Commonwealth heavyweight titles.

But stints in prison for a series of petty robberies, plus bouts of violence behind bars earned him a reputation as being one of Britain's most difficult prisoners during the 1970s and 80s.

He spent time in 18 prisons in total, locked up for 21 out of 26 years, and even became good friends with notorious prisoner, Charles Bronson.

Sykes' reputation for violence was well founded and he was later banned from Wakefield city centre for anti-social behaviour, aggravated by his heavy drinking.

But his boozing became his downfall and he died in Pinderfields Hospital in 2007 from pneumonia and liver cirrhosis.

Mr Boyle says negotiations are taking place with a well-known 80s band to use their music for the movie, while the unnamed TV actor being lined up to play Sykes has been researching the role.

He said: "He is 6ft 1" and from down south but he has been working on his Yorkshire accent. He's doing boxing training so he can put the weight on.

"He has become obsessed with Paul Sykes and really wants to bring him to life."