Rejected by music colleges and TV talent shows, Scottish tenor, John Craig Innes, sings on the streets for years to make a living selling his home made CDs. Aged 47, without a record contract and fearing his time to succeed is running out, he desperately spends his life savings to hire The Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and the creative team behind British diva Katherine Jenkins to record his debut album. When sales of his professional album come no easier, he self produces a UK concert tour to promote it! After all this, Britain’s Got Talent invite John to audition…

When we began shooting THE PEOPLE’S TENOR it was simply a story of perserverance and self reliance, the story of an inspiring character for our current times. John Innes is an outsider trying to break into the music industry on his own terms, but his story is for outsiders from every walk of life.

John’s remarkable journey may make us think about how we identify real star qualities, perhaps even how we define success? If John’s improbable climb from street to stage is at times painful viewing, it certainly makes his triumphs all the more rewarding.

Rt. Hon. Tom Clarke, MP, CBE, fmr. Minister of Film


At the start of production we didn’t know how the story would end, nor when, so conventional broadcaster funding was never an option. Inspired by the example of our subject, we made it anyway, on a shoe string budget with borrowed equipment and every favor we could beg. While this fact may leave a few rough edges, we feel this is a small price to pay for an uncontrived story that is allowed to happen naturally.

John had always declared that he intended to use all his savings to record his debut professional album. This much we knew from the start, but nothing more, the rest of the story just evolved. So we left him at it, sometimes for months, to street perform and save money for the recording, and occasionally we picked up the camera at short notice to follow him around.
In a media savvy culture it’s difficult to prevent people consciously or sub-consciously refining the ‘character’ they wish to appear. The filming on THE PEOPLE’S TENOR was done so infrequently over such a long period of time that John never really saw himself as the ‘subject of a film’ – a film he probably didn’t think would ever be made.

THE PEOPLES TENOR was shot in full HD on location in 3 countries between 2009-2011. A street performer is a traveler, so the film is almost a travelogue of every region of Britain with footage of John either performing or working in Glasgow, Edinburgh, York, Cambridge, London, Essex, Brighton and Plymouth, and outside Britain in Prague (Czech Republic).


THE PEOPLES TENOR was produced and directed by Roger Grant and Mark Ubsdell of Cinema Classics and Electric Theatre respectively, two long standing and experienced producers of tv, documentary and feature film. Our programs have been broadcast on channels worldwide including PBS (US), Ch. FIVE (UK), Nickelodeon, Network 9 (Aus) History Channel (Fr), TVNZ (NZ), Myserty Channel (US) among many others. Several of our programs have also become best selling DVD and video series

John Parker-Rees is a veteran in the film and video industry and is currently Senior Lecturer in Media at University College Falmouth

Lisa Keane is a freelance director and long time collaborator of BAFTA award winning Director Molly Dineen

Freelance editor and founder of Bugface Media


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