A Film To Relish
Exposed meets Ian Reddington, the man behind new Hendo’s film, Relish ahead of it’s screening at Doc/Fest 2015.
Sheffield might not be the steel capital of the world anymore and our cutlery might no longer be used by people all over the globe, but we still have good old Hendo’s to cling to.
Humble it may be, but the spicy sauce in the orange bottle is the embodiment of all things Sheffield; it’s a legacy of the steel city. Stamped firmly ‘Made in Sheffield’, it’s something that’s ours.
Relish, a short film produced and narrated by Sheffield-born actor Ian Reddington, is a warm, light-hearted look at Sheffield’s best-kept secret and obsession: Henderson’s Relish.
We spoke to Ian to discuss his film about the ubiquitous sauce that strikes a heavy blow to other inferior condiments.
Ian, for people who may not know, could you tell us a little bit about the documentary?
Relish is a film, as the title suggests, about Henderson’s Relish. It’s like our little secret we’ve got. Having been brought up in Sheffield, I’ve always been fascinated by it. The building itself, so old and strange, was always a bit of a mystery. You never saw anybody entering or leaving. As a kid, you’ve been brought up on Henderson’s, it’s on every table. But you can’t buy it down the road, or in another city. It’s ours. I wanted to show the world what we’re made of, and we’re made of relish!
How did you come up with the idea for the film?
When you leave the city, like I did to be an actor, you start to think of all the things that remind you of home, and so that’s what got me starting to think about making a documentary on it. I was working on another film, Zoe and the Astronaut, with a group of kids down in London, who were fantastic. And after finishing they said they wanted to make something else, and I wanted to make the documentary. I said I’d got an idea, I think they imagined it would be amazing, and I said I wanted to make a documentary about a relish in Sheffield! I brought them up here, and I started asking people about Henderson’s. Everyone goes mad about it, and the lads couldn’t believe it.
So do you think that Henderson’s Relish has a special meaning to Sheffielders?
Artists, photographers and all these high profile creative people are using it as their muse, it’s not just a local guy saying ‘I like it; I like it on my pie’. Why have people chosen this to represent them? Why Henderson’s? You can’t buy it anywhere, but people have it sent to them all over the world. Sheffield people are obsessed with it; they choose it to represent them, I think because we have something that’s ours. It’s such a Sheffield thing; it’s made by a little, tiny company with no marketing budget. If you like it you like it, and if you don’t you don’t. I mean, the company itself is so Sheffield!
Was there a message you wanted to get across with the short film?
In the documentary I tried to discuss: do we not want people to know about it? It’s ours. Should it be our secret? I was trying to understand it and people have expressed their love for it. It’s like it’s a goddess or a muse, not a relish! ‘Made in Sheffield’ used to be a slogan known all around the world, but we don’t really see it anymore. But on the Henderson’s logo it says bam! Made in Sheffield. They were making Hendo’s before Sheffield was even a city, it was a borough; it has that tradition.
There’s some of the best known faces in Sheffield starring in the film, was that something that was important to you?
Yes! I literally just rang them up. They said: ‘Henderson’s? No problem!’ And nobody asked for a penny to do it, which was great!
The doc is the first time that the Freeman family have allowed cameras into the Henderson’s factory, that must have been a really interesting experience!
They were great, as it was an appreciation of them. I said, listen, we love it. They know how popular it is and the doc is kind of like a last poem for Hendo’s. We took it inside the factory, with its vast workforce of three, it’s that quirky!
How does it feel to have a film you’ve produced premier at Doc/Fest?
I didn’t even know the festival was on! Someone said it was perfect for the festival so we had to run and finish it. I think it’s great, because all those delegates coming to showcase their stuff will be in the city and will get a real taste of Sheffield. We’ve got two screenings at the festival. Out of 2000 entries, they only chose something like 140. And my little documentary got chosen!
The poster for the film is hilarious, how did you come up with it?
My arse is going to say it all! I chose that for the poster because it’s as fun as Henderson’s is, and as fun as the documentary is. Kim Kardashian did it to break the internet, so maybe we can do the same. We put on the poster, ‘for the people of Sheffield’, so it’s like giving a little something back.
You can catch the premier of Relish at two DocFest screenings: on June 6 at 12:30 at Odeon and on June 8 at 18:15 at Molinare Library Theatre. For ticket information visit www.sheffdocfest.com.