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Human Traffic (1999, John Simm, Lorraine Pilkington)

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Human Traffic is Justin Kerrigan’s hilarious look at the modern club scene shows the good times and the wild times where drugs, drinks and talking rubbish to your mates are what make the night the best of all time.

In Cardiff, a group of friends prepare for the weekend. Jip (John Simm) tries to survive life with his prostitute mother and recently-encountered sexual insecurity. Lulu (Lorraine Pilkington), who has no such sexual problems, is a hedonistic clubber and a loyal friend. Moff (Danny Dyer) rebels against his father, a policeman, to deal drugs from the family home, and Koop (Shaun Parkes) surrounds himself with music and a possessive obsession with girlfriend Nina (Nicola Reynolds).

The five friends’ dead-end jobs come to a full stop with Friday night when they cut loose to party, meeting to drop the first pill of the evening before hitting the city. Lulu fails to get in for the big night so Jip gives her his ticket, confessing his current worries. As they move on to a party the drugs flow, and a weekend they will never forget slowly unfolds…

The film’s uncompromising content and tone appealed to an audience that recognised their own antics, from the tunes under musical supervisor Pete Tong to the use of drugs that didn’t lead to illness or death, just speculation about Star Wars. Clever marketing including an enigmatic trailer (featuring marijuana messiah Howard Marks) and a curious clubbing crowd led to a huge crossover both here and in the States (under the patronage of the formidable Weinsteins).

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The charismatic Kerrigan was an instant hit, with coverage focusing on his determination (using a £25,000 festival short film prize to develop the project) and irreverence. Recounting an invitation to Windsor Castle as a representative of British youth culture, he pictures a tired and emotional meeting with the Queen. ‘This place looks great, mate,’ he enthused. ‘Do you rent it out for parties?’

classic quote

The weekend has landed. All that exists now is clubs, drugs, pubs and parties. I’ve got 48 hours off from the world man.

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production details
UK | 99 minutes | 1999

Writer and Director: Justin Kerrigan

cast
Danny Dyer as Moff
Andrew Lincoln as Felix
Shaun Parkes as Koop
Jo Brand as Reality (voice)
Richard Coyle as Andy
Lorraine Pilkington as Lulu
John Simm as Jip
Nicola Reynolds as Nina
Dean Davies as Lee
Terence Beesley as Moff’s Father
Jan Anderson as Karen Benson
Carl Cox as Pablo Hassan
Stephanie Brooks as Fleur
Howard Marks as Himself
Helen Griffin as Jip’s Mother
Danny Midwinter as Tyrone
Justin Kerrigan as Ziggy Marlon
Tyrone Johnson as Hip Hop Junkie
Larrington Walker as Koop’s Father
Philip Rosch as Jip’s Manager
Peter Albert as Lulu’s Uncle Albert
Menna Trussler as Lulu’s Auntie
Mark Seaman as Jeremy Factsman
Lynne Seymour as Connie
Patrick Taggart as Luke
Anna Wilson as Boomshanka
Robert Marable as Casey
Nick Kilroy as Herbie
Peter Bramhill as Matt
Carol Harrison as Moff’s Mum
Anne Bowen as Moff’s Grandmother
Giles Thomas as Martin

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Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.

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