The story behind the intro song for Netflix’s Sunderland ‘Till I Die

Netflix’s Sunderland ‘Till I Die series two has used the same intro as the first series featuring the song Shipyards by Sunderland musician The Lake Poets.

By Newsroom
Sunday, 12th April 2020, 11:33 am
Updated Sunday, 12th April 2020, 4:43 pm

The haunting tune, which has been streamed more than one and a half million times on Spotify was written by Martin Longstaff, known as The Lake Poets, in tribute to his late grandfather, and references the city’s shipbuilding heritage.

Producers Fulwell 73 were granted full access behind the scenes at the Stadium of Light again for the second series.

Series two of Sunderland 'Til I Die is now available on Netflix

Lifelong Sunderland fan Martin was over the moon to be asked if the production team could use his song as the show's theme and has been touched that it has struck a chord with so many viewers.

"This song means a lot to me and it means a lot to my family," he said.

"It is nice that it is resonating with people - that's what it is all about.

"That's what my job is, as I see it. If it will make people happy, that is kind of what I am here for."

Martin Longstaff, known as The Lake Poets sings the song Shipyards which is used as the intro music for Sunderland 'Til I Die

The song is dedicated to Martin's grandfather George, who was a shipyard worker: "He was a really, really, quiet man who worked hard all his life," said Martin.

"He was born in Pallion and worked in Deptford. He was a rivet catcher from 14 and then a crane driver - that's what I remember him as.

"He didn't have much, but what he did have he passed on to my mam and me and my brother.

"My mam worked full time and my dad worked away, so a lot of the time he looked after us.

Martin Longstaff, known as The Lake Poets, receiving an honorary doctorate from the University of Sunderland

"He died in 2010. He fell over and hit his head at his home in South Hylton.”

The second series of Sunderland ‘Til I Die which was released on April 1 includes a clip of, Martin Longstaff also known at The Lake Poets performing the song on the pitch at the Stadium of Light.

The Lake Poets has been credited for their role in a cultural resurgence in Sunderland in recent years and last year Martin was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Arts by the University of Sunderland.

It came after the singer-songwriter missed his chance to attend the graduation ceremony for his PGCE in Primary Education in 2012 – because he was on tour with Tom Jones at the time.

Martin Longstaff works with schoolchildren teaching songwriting

Martin still lives in Sunderland and has been credited with ‘inspiring the next generation of Sunderland songwriters’ with the work he does with local schools.