Photography by Michael Davidson and Beth Wilson
Steve Evets (born Steven Murphy) is an actor, who found fame in the leading role in the 2009 film Looking for Eric andand most recently the hit TV series Brassic.
Born and raised in Broughton, Salford in 1959. Steve joined the Merchant Navy after leaving school, but was kicked out after three years, after jumping ship twice in Japan and spending his eighteenth birthday in a Bombay brothel. In 1987 Steve was injured in a pub brawl and spent time on a life support machine. He was stabbed, glassed in the face and had his throat cut.
Tony Wilson famously said In Manchester we do things differently. He should have added But Salford go that extra yard.
Steve & Eric Cantona in 'Looking For Eric'
Steve as 'Farmer Jim' in 'Brassic'
After a succession of casual jobs and long periods of being on the dole, in 1986 Steve discovered his passion for acting whilst studying on a foundation course at Abraham Moss College in Cheetham Hill. Steve continued to work while perusing his acting career, holding down jobs as an electrician, working in a carpet warehouse and delivering pipes.
The best thing about acting is not knowing what the next job is, and the worst is not knowing what the next job is.
As there was already a Steve Murphy on the books of Equity, he decided on the palindromic stage name Steve Evets, "The first thing that popped into my head was 'Steve' backwards... so I put that on the form". “I was performing all over the place doing Street Theatre, Fringe Theatre in Manchester and performing comedy poetry at Stand up gigs”.
Steve's early acting work included several TV roles including See No Evil: The Moors Murders, Casualty, Life on Mars, The Cops, Shameless, and Emmerdale. In between acting roles, he worked under the name Adolph Chip-pan, performing political comedy poetry in Manchester. He also worked as a musician, and was introduced to Mark E. Smith of The Fall in the mid-1990s, leading to Evets performing his poetry at some Fall gigs. When Smith discovered that Steve could play bass guitar, he was drafted into the band to play a few one off Fall shows. Steve also fronted his own band, Dr Freak's Padded Cell.
Steve chose to be photographed at Salford Quays/MediaCity
Steve’s first major film role came in 2008, playing a terminally-ill alcoholic who uses a wheelchair opposite Robert Carlyle, in Summer. He followed this with the lead role in Ken Loach's highly acclaimed 2009 film, Looking for Eric. Steve plays Eric, a football fanatic postman whose life descends into crisis, before he receives life coaching from the famously philosophical Eric Cantona.
Working with Ken really was a dream come true. He’d always been a hero of mine. If you throw Cantona in the mix, we’re talking a legend sandwich.I felt honoured to work with them both…. and still do.
He has since taken on a number of TV and film roles including: Rev, The Facility, zombie drama In the Flesh, Death in Paradise, The Musketeers and the BBC One drama series Moving On.
Steve who now lives in Whitefield is enjoying further cult status in the role of eccentric ’farmer Jim’ in the critically acclaimed TV series Barasic.
THE SHOOT: Salford Quays
The former Salford Docks where Steve set sail as a merchant Seaman, aged 17
Student reflection: Michael Davidson
This was my first Greater Mancunians shoot and I was really looking forward to the challenge of working with someone I’d never met before. Salford Quays is a location I’m familiar with from college field trips, so I felt confident about finding locations in which we could do the photography
Steve was really down to earth and friendly. His wild hair and beard for his upcoming TV role made the portraiture photography all the more interesting. Starting and finishing at The Lowry, we moved through the Quays photographing against the backdrop of the Ship Canal where he’d he set sail as a young merchant seaman. Steve was really helpful, happy to be posed and chatted about his experiences of growing up and working in Salford.
I chose to photograph Steve on a long lens to try to isolate him from the background to ensure all the detail of his face would stand out. These were some of my best images from the shoot. It was a real pleasure working with Steve and I hope I captured his quirky and down to earth personality in my final images.