Suffolk songwriter Nik Kershaw helps provide soundtrack for Eddie the Eagle movie, which opens on April 1
PUBLISHED: 08:44 13 February 2016 | UPDATED: 15:40 14 February 2016
It's the ultimate underdog story - and one of Suffolk's most famous sons has lent his songwriting skills to its big screen dramatisation.
Eighties icon Nik Kershaw helped provide a soundtrack to the story of how Olympic ski-jumper Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards captured a nation’s hearts.
The hit-maker was raised in Ipswich and recorded a string of successful songs around the time downhill skier Michael Edwards was about to take a literal leap into the unknown to realise his Olympic dream.
Kershaw was recruited by Gary Barlow to contribute to the original soundtrack for Eddie the Eagle – a biopic of the unexpected hero’s rise to fame.
“Gary was music supervisor for the film,” said the former local lad. “He knew the easy thing would have been to tour round record companies and stick a load of 80s tracks in the background. Rather than do that, he thought to contact artists for something new.
“I was about to disappear on tour, so told him I wished I could but didn’t have the time.
“He asked if I had anything recent – I said I had this song from my last album called The Sky’s the Limit, which happened to fit really well.
“It’s an aspirational song I wrote with my stepdaughter, Renee, in mind. She was at school, considering what subjects to choose and making decisions that could change her life. It’s about open up to ideas and embracing them.
“I’ve no idea where it will turn up, but I’m told it will feature somewhere in the film.”
Take That star Barlow gave the song an 80s drumbeat and added it to a list of tunes contributed by the likes of Tony Hadley, Go West, ABC, Howard Jones and Holly Johnson.
Kershaw was churning out the hits as Cheltenham-born plasterer, Edwards, was on the road to becoming a British sporting legend.
The heroic failure would become known worldwide as Eddie ‘The Eagle’ after finishing last at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary.
“I remember the astonishment,” said Kershaw. “Firstly, that the British had anyone competing in anything but ice skating or the slalom, and secondly, someone mad enough to throw themselves off a ski jump.
“He is an absolute hero, celebrated in a way only the British can. He’s known around the world. I was interviewed in Denmark by someone who brought it up.”
Now 57, Kershaw lives near Great Dunmow, and is in the early stages of recording his ninth studio album.
He toured last year with Go West, returning to Ipswich for a performance at the Regent in November.
Fly (Songs Inspired By The Film Eddie The Eagle) is released on March 18, before the Eddie the Eagle movie opens on April 1.