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Elbow 'Charge' by Mark Thomas

David Knight - 18th Nov 2014

It started with the video for New York Morning, continued with My Sad Captains and Real Life - and now Mark Thomas of SoupCo Production in Manchester has created the fourth and final documentary portrait to accompany a track from the current Elbow album The Take Off and Landing of Everything

This one, for Charge, follows the same pattern - the spoken words of the subjects appear in on-screen subtitles - as Elbow perform Charge. And here this technique has an additional impact. This is a film that follows two generations of speedway riders from Manchester's legendary Belle Vue Aces. And the words on screen emphasise the connections between the two riders, and the enduring thrill of the sport. It is tremendously watchable, and like the others, elevated by the music of Elbow.   

Mark Thomas and SoupCo have been longtime collaborators with Elbow. But over the course of these four mini-documentaries, they have created a very special body of work.


"Always a personal highlight working with Elbow, and the chance to develop a series of character-based films for their music has been a standout moment. The final in the series of observational documentary portraits produced for their sixth studio album The Take Off and Landing of Everything, Charge follows two generations of Speedway riders from Manchester's legendary Belle Vue Aces.

"Having wanted to look at the legacy of the Belle Vue area - Manchester's once legendary mini-paradise and home to all things entertainment - for some time, it felt fitting to bring it into the mix for Elbow's final film outing for The Take Off and Landing of Everything. Speedway was a key part of this and is the lasting legacy of the area - everything else being long since demolished.

"The season - rapidly coming to an end - brought shooting forward with no time to witness a race day before filming. This proved to be something of a blessing. The thrill of seeing it all for the first time and rattling around like lunatics to capture it added something vital to the mix. Craig and Chris - the two riders we featured completely got us hooked on the sport, there will definitely be some Soup outings to the Speedway when the next season kicks off."

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David Knight - 18th Nov 2014


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Mark Thomas
Alison Surtees
Production Company
SoupCo Production


Director of Photography
Percy Dean


Gwen Osmond
Mark Thomas


Alex Hindle

Other credits

Thanks to

Craig Cook, Chris Morton and Steve Casey at Belle Vue, Claire Turner at Manchester Histories Festival.

David Knight - 18th Nov 2014

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