Nail pulled from Last Ship

Jan 10 2018 | By More

The Last Ship to sail without Jimmy Nail

Principal casting has been announced for Sting’s musical, The Last Ship, which plays the Edinburgh Festival Theatre in June 2018. However, after “protracted negotiations”, Jimmy Nail will be replaced by Joe McGann.

Nail initially starred in the Broadway debut of the show in 2014. But with sales flagging disastrously, the former Police frontman was parachuted in to play the lead in his own show – at Nail’s expense – after little more than a month.

Sting promoting The Last Ship at Leith Dockers Club. Pic Greg Macvean.

Nail was originally slated to star in the UK tour which will open at Northern Stage in Newcastle in March, and has been involved in the evolution of the musical.

He said: “I was very much looking forward to appearing in Sting’s The Last Ship, particularly here in my home city. Sadly that’s not to be”

Producer Karl Sydow said that: “After protracted negotiations carried out in good faith we regret to announce the production’s offer of employment to Jimmy Nail has been withdrawn.”

The Last Ship was initially inspired by Sting’s 1991 album The Soul Cages and his own childhood experiences. It tells the story of a community amid the demise of the shipbuilding industry in Tyne and Wear, with the closure of the Swan Hunter shipyard.

The Upper Hand

Joe McGann is perhaps best known for his role as Charlie Burrows the former footballer turned housekeeper in the ITV comedy series The Upper Hand. Musical theatre credits include Elf, and UK tours of The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, Calendar Girls, Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof and Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls.

McGann will be playing foreman Jackie Whit, while Charlie Hardwick, who played Val Pollard in Emmerdale, will play his wife Peggy. The couple fight to hold their community together in the face of the gathering storm, following the closure of the local shipyard.

Richard Fleeshman – Coronation Street’s Craig Harris – will play Gideon Fletcher, the sailor who returns home after seventeen years at sea to find tensions between past and future flaring in both his family and his town. Fleeshman has plenty of musical background, including originated the role of Sam Wheat in Ghost the Musical.

Frances McNamee will play barmaid Meg Dawson, Gideon’s former sweetheart. Currently appearing alongside Kelsey Grammer in Big Fish, McNamee has built a strong reputation for modern, period and musical theatre.

The show is directed by Northern Stage’s Lorne Campbell. It will run there from Monday 12 March to Saturday 7 April. It is then booked to tour until July 2018. Set design is by the Tony Award-winning 59 Productions.

In a statement issued by production company, Jimmy Nail adds: “I would like to thank the production in allowing FACT, the charity of which I’m a patron, to benefit from the planned gala charity event.

“To anyone who has purchased a ticket, please, go see the show and give this vessel the launch it so deserves. You’ll hear some of the finest musical works ever composed for the stage.”

Announcing the withdrawal of Nail from the show, Karl Sydow, producer of The Last Ship, added: “All at The Last Ship thank him for his generosity and enormous contribution during what has been an eight year journey.”


The Last Ship
Festival Theatre, 13/29 Nicolson Street EH8 9FT.
Tuesday 12– Saturday 16 June 2018
Evenings: 7.30pm; Matinees: 2.30pm.
Tickets and Details:

The Soul Cages and The Last Ship are available from Amazon. Click images for details:


The Last Ship on tour 2018:
Mon 12 March – Sat 7 April Newcastle 
Northern Stage
0191 230 5151 Book online
Mon 9 – Sat 14 April Liverpool 
0151 709 4776 Book online
Mon 16 – Sat 21 April Birmingham 
The New Alexandra
0844 871 7647 Book online
Mon 23 – Sat 28 April Northampton 
Royal & Derngate
01604 624 811 Book online
Tue 1 – Sat 5 May Leeds 
Grand Theatre
0844 848 2700 Book online
Tue 8 – Sat 12 May Nottingham 
0115 941 9419 Book online
Mon 14 – Sat 19 May Cardiff 
Wales Millenium Centre
029 2063 6464 Book online
Mon 4 – Sat 9 June Dublin 
Bord Gais Energy Theatre
+353 1 677 7999 Book online
Tue 12 – Sat 16 June Edinburgh 
Festival Theatre
0131 529 6000 Book online
Mon 18 – Sat 23 June Glasgow 
Theatre Royal
0844 871 7647 Book online
Mon 25 – Sat 30 June York 
Theatre Royal
01904 623 568 Book online
Tue 3 – Sat 7 July Salford 
The Lowry
0843 208 6000 Book online


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  1. Listings: 18 – 23 June : All Edinburgh | Jun 12 2018
  1. Emily says:

    Nooo! I wanted to see Jimmy Nail!

    Interested to see Richard Fleeshman though.