THE life of a tragic North-East cycling star Tom Simpson could be made into a film.

This Is England and Dead Man's Shoes filmmaker Shane Meadows said he wanted to tell the story of Simpson, who died while competing in the 1967 Tour de France.

Simpson, who was born in Haswell, County Durham, collapsed during a mountain climb in the race.

He told onlookers ''Put me back on my bike'' but just 500 yards later Simpson collapsed again. He was airlifted to the nearest hospital at Avignon but was pronounced dead on arrival.

He was the first British cyclist to wear the yellow jersey and the first British winner of the World Championships.

Meadows said: "It is just one of those legendary stories that feels like a Hollywood movie script, though I would not treat it like that.''

He said he had no idea who would play the lead role and had not bought the rights to the story yet, adding he would not shy away from looking at Simpson's use of drugs while racing.

Meadows said: ''He was very open about taking amphetamines and it was very different then.

''I just think it is a great story. For example the French loved him because after two weeks in France he was doing his interviews in French, broken French admittedly, but this was just an ordinary guy."