Flushed with success: singing plumber signs Hollywood film deal | England

A plumber who landed a record contract after he was overheard singing at work has now signed a Hollywood movie deal for the rights to his story.

Kev Crane, a 50-year-old plumber from Leicestershire, was fitting a bathroom for a local record producer, Paul Conneally, in August last year when he started singing along to the radio.

Impressed by his vocals, Conneally, who owns New Reality Records in Loughborough, offered Crane a record deal and he went on to release his debut album.

Now Hollywood has got wind of his story, and Crane has signed a deal with the Los Angeles-based filmmaker Stacy Sherman and the screenwriter and producer Billy Ray, who wrote the 2013 blockbuster Captain Phillips.

A script has already been written by the British sitcom and film writers Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, who wrote for television series including The Likely Lads, Porridge and Auf Wiedersehen, Pet.

“It’s like I’m watching this happen to someone else. Not for one minute did I think this could happen to me,” Crane told the BBC.

“I’ve had some sleepless nights thinking about this whole story – the record deal and now the film. It’s so exciting.”

Conneally said: “Never in a million years did I think this would happen when I first heard Kev singing. We know the story won’t follow our life stories exactly but will be based on it, and we can’t wait to see exactly what they do with it.”

The pair have been speculating about which actors might play them in the movie. Conneally has suggested Simon Pegg and Nick Frost would be a good fit.

Other names that have been thrown in the ring include Jude Law, Colin Firth, Jason Statham and Ricky Gervais.

“We grew up watching shows like Porridge and Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, along with films like The Commitments, so it feels unreal to be now working with the creators of those and having Zoom calls with them in LA and to think it’s our story that they’re working on,” said Crane, who lives with his wife, Karen, in the village of Quorn.

“My wife has been so overwhelmed by it all – in tears about it. I am just going with the flow.”

Sherman said she became interested in the story as it was a tale of the human spirit and music. “What could be better?” she said. “Sinks fixed, dreams dashed, heartache, hope and UK music.”

Crane said he had previously been in a band and had written an album but it was “more of a hobby”. “I like to sing while I am working and [Conneally] pulled me into the living room one night for a conversation about my singing voice,” he said. After listening to Crane’s music “he offered me a chance to sign up to his label – it was just like that”.

For now, Crane is still fitting bathrooms around the east Midlands, but he has another record out this week, and is starting work on his second album.

Meanwhile, the film is in pre-production, and the pair are eagerly awaiting the final result. Conneally said: “We don’t have a set date for the film’s release yet. We’re learning just how much work goes into the making of a feature film, especially one made in LA.”

Musicians discovered in unusual places

Crane isn’t the only singer to have been talent-spotted when they were least expecting it.

Florence Welch

The Florence and the Machine frontwoman said she was discovered by Mairead Nash, who went on to become her manager, when she sang in the toilets on a night out.

In an MTV interview, the singer said: “I went to one of Mairead’s club nights and we were in the toilet talking about boys or something, and I was pretending that I had a band.

“I sang a snippet of an Etta James song. I was like: ‘I can sing!!’ I was pretty drunk … But toilets have really good acoustics, and I found out that Etta James sang to her manager in a toilet as well.”

Rod Stewart

In 1964, Stewart was playing his harmonica at Twickenham railway station after seeing the blues singer Long John Baldry perform at the the Eel Pie Island hotel.

Baldry heard him play and invited him to sit with his group, where he discovered Stewart could sing as well. He offered him a job with his band for £35, after securing the approval of Stewart’s mother. The now legendary rock singer built up his confidence playing with the band, before embarking on his solo career.

Toni Braxton

The American singer-songwriter was spotted by the producer William E Pettaway Jr while she was refuelling her car at a petrol station.

Pettaway was working as an attendant at the Annapolis service station and recognised Braxton from her local performances, introduced himself and offered to produce her. Although sceptical, Braxton accepted the offer.

Mandy Moore

When she was 14 years old, the American singer, songwriter and actor saved up some money to book time in a studio in Orlando to work on her music.

She was overheard by a FedEx delivery worker, Victor Cade, who sent a demo tape to his friend at Epic Records and Moore soon landed herself a record deal.

Leave a Comment