Behind the scenes photos of the iconic Three Lions music video emerge as trio relax in London pub


Previously unseen pictures show the filming of England’s most famous football song as the nation prepares itself for Sunday’s Euro 2020 final.

In the images, the masterminds behind the iconic song ‘Three Lions’, comedians Frank Skinner and David Baddiel relax with Lightning Seeds star Ian Broudie inside a cosy pub in the capital. 

The trio have been immortalised within football folklore after teaming up to produce ‘Three Lions’ in 1996 – the soundtrack of that summer’s European Championship, which was hosted by England.

These previously unseen shots, taken on a chilly Saturday in April 1996, show our unlikely heroes with World Cup winning striker Sir Geoff Hurst inside The Queen of the Isle pub in London’s Docklands. 

The venue for the catchy song, once an old-fashioned pub, has largely been erased from history after its demolition in 2004. Today, 571 Manchester Road is home to a Tesco Express. 

But the Queen of the Isle will be forever remembered after these pictures re-emerged, while the toe-tapping ‘Three Lions’ tune surges up the official UK charts before England face off against Italy in the Euro 2020 final on Sunday. 

It’s Coming Home! The masterminds behind the iconic Three Lions music video, Ian Broudie of the Lightning Seeds (left), British comedians David Baddiel (centre right) and Frank Skinner (far right) pose with a smart looking Sir Geoff Hurst (middle)

Behind the scenes pictures with 1966 World Cup winner Sir Geoff Hurst, Ian Broudie of the Lightning Seeds and comedians David Baddiel and Frank Skinner at The Queen of the Isle, London

Behind the scenes pictures with 1966 World Cup winner Sir Geoff Hurst, Ian Broudie of the Lightning Seeds and comedians David Baddiel and Frank Skinner at The Queen of the Isle, London

How ‘Three Lions’ is rising up the official UK charts

The toe-tapping tune has been making waves this summer as England cruised through the Euro 2020 final. 

Three Lions has been bellowed out at England’s games hosted at Wembley, and has made an appearance in every pub, garden and household as the nation remains gripped by England’s historic tournament performance.

So far, the song has reached No 6 in the Official UK charts and recently rose as high as No 3 in Spotify’s ‘Viral 50’ global listing. 

Since its release 25 years ago, Three Lions has been streamed more than 38million times and the iconic music video has amassed 33.1million views on YouTube.

Its enduring popularity was seen again at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, when Three Lions became the first song in UK history to have four spells at No 1 with the same line-up.  

The pictures were taken by photographer Tim Paton, who had been invited onto the closed set to take the candid shots.

After England’s nerve-wracking triumph over Denmark on Wednesday, Tim had a brainwave.

He remembered his long forgotten negatives were hidden away and contacted a local photography agency to get them scanned and released to the public.   

Three Lions was released on May 20, 1996 and became England’s official anthem during Euro 96. 

Over 25 more years of hurt, it has remained the soundtrack to English football’s twin towers – hope and despair.

‘It still makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up,’ Alan Shearer has previously said.

But its enduring popularity was seen again at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, when ‘Three Lions’ became the first song in UK history to have four spells at No 1 with the same line-up.

That’s remained the case in 2021, with roaring chants of ‘It’s Coming Home’ and ‘Three Lions on a shirt’ bellowing out of the Wembley stands at each and every England match so far. 

As the national team prepare for their first international final since the World Cup winning side of 1966, the familiar lyrics of Three Lions continue to make appearances in every pub, garden and household in the country.

Since its release 25 years ago, Three Lions has been streamed more than 38million times and the iconic music video has amassed 33.1million views on YouTube.

The song has been the soundtrack to the national side’s games since 1996, and clearly continues to do so as Three Lions recently rose to as high as number six in the official UK charts. 

Ian Broudie told Sky News: ‘People walk past my window late at night singing it, it just makes me smile.

‘There’s a certain poetic symmetry, 25 years on, same venue, there is something. You like to feel there’s a wind blowing on your side.’

Baddiel, Hurst and Skinner are pictured behind the bar at The Queen of the Isle pub, in London's Docklands in April 1996

Baddiel, Hurst and Skinner are pictured behind the bar at The Queen of the Isle pub, in London’s Docklands in April 1996

The toe-tapping Three Lions tune has been streamed more than 38million times and the iconic music video has amassed 33.1million views on YouTube

The toe-tapping Three Lions tune has been streamed more than 38million times and the iconic music video has amassed 33.1million views on YouTube

The previously unseen pictures were taken by photographer Tim Paton, who had been invited onto the closed set to take the candid shots

The previously unseen pictures were taken by photographer Tim Paton, who had been invited onto the closed set to take the candid shots

The creative process behind the toe-tapping tune was recently revealed in a June interview with Sportsmail.

Broudie explained: ‘I was a bit nervous about writing a football song but when we got the ‘‘It’s coming home’’ section the rest came easily and I started to enjoy the tune. 

‘Frank, David and I were all on the same wavelength: the song had to be about a fan’s realistic experience not cheerleading.’

David Baddiel agrees: ‘The lyrics say: we almost never win. Generally we disappoint and yet we somehow think, against all experience, that we might do something,’ he explained.

‘Little moments – like David Platt scoring in extra time against Belgium in Italia 90 – can break through that despair, and lead you to hope. The song takes you on that journey which is a real one for England fans.’

Three Lions was released on May 20, 1996 and became England's official anthem during Euro 96. To this day, it remains the soundtrack to the national side's glories

Three Lions was released on May 20, 1996 and became England’s official anthem during Euro 96. To this day, it remains the soundtrack to the national side’s glories

David Baddiel, Ian Broudie and Frank Skinner, the masterminds behind Three Lions

The unlikely trio of heroes are pictured again inside the London pub

The Lightning Seeds’ frontman Ian Broudie suggested the collaboration with Frank Skinner and David Baddiel – then hosts of cult-show Fantasy Football League

Darren Venn, former marketing chief at the Football Association, remembered how the FA’s need to balance the books inspired the songwriting geniuses to collaborate on Three Lions.

‘Three Lions actually came from a fairly desperate need to make some money,’ he reveals. 

A year after awarding England the 1996 tournament, UEFA doubled participation from eight teams to 16. That sent costs spiralling and the FA was staring at millions in losses.  

UEFA had already siphoned off most money-making avenues for themselves. Venn spotted music was not among them, so he proposed creating an England song alongside a tournament single, album and concert. 

Venn reached out to The Lightning Seeds’ frontman Broudie, who suggested a collaboration with Skinner and Baddiel – then hosts of cult-show Fantasy Football League. 

A few weeks later, the FA were invited to Broudie’s studio. ‘I technically had the approval rights over his music,’ Venn laughs. ‘All he had were the opening lines: It’s coming home…’

Three Lions has been synonymous with the England football team since Euro 1996. Pictured: The iconic song's architects, Skinner, Baddiel and Broudie

Three Lions has been synonymous with the England football team since Euro 1996. Pictured: The iconic song’s architects, Skinner, Baddiel and Broudie

Ian Broudie wrote the 'It's coming home' lyric while Frank Skinner and David Baddiel orchestrated the rest of the song

Ian Broudie wrote the ‘It’s coming home’ lyric while Frank Skinner and David Baddiel orchestrated the rest of the song

Skinner and Baddiel took care of the rest. They had agreed to take part on the assurance they could write what they wanted. Unsurprisingly, their vision jarred with the puff-patriotism of traditional football songs and when the words dropped, Venn knew ‘there was no way the FA would agree to this.’

Soon after the release of Three Lions, the FA were toasting a £4.5million profit. 

They sold tickets in record numbers and England earned a bonus for reaching the last four. The music helped, too. ‘Not only in balancing the finances,’ Venn says, ‘but also proving that England could stage a tournament of that scale.’

Previously, some rival countries have perceived the song’s message as one of English arrogance.

But Baddiel responded: ‘I think the song is the opposite of arrogant. It’s a vulnerable song about magical thinking.

‘What does happen is that when England are doing well, Football’s Coming Home itself becomes a kind of mantra pushing us towards victory. 

‘The most intense I ever heard it chanted was when Shearer scored early on against Germany in the semi-final. The crowd were saying it like a magic spell, like if we sing it fast enough and powerfully enough it will happen.

‘It’s never meant to mean “we own football”. It means coming home in the sense of something you hope will finally happen after a long journey.’

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