Ed Sheeran: The Sum of It All Season 1 Review

Season 1

Episode Guide



Ed Sheeran is one of the biggest music stars in the world. He’s sold more than 150 million records worldwide. Two of his albums are in the list of the best-selling in UK chart history, while it’s taken him less than a decade to rack up 14 number 1 hits in the UK. But who is the man behind the music? Who is this kid from Ipswich?

Ed Sheeran: The Sum Of It All is a docu-series that promises to go behind the scenes, following Ed’s journey to superstardom. Split across 4 episodes, each clocking in at around 30 minutes or so, the series is surprisingly light on detail and actually brushes over the same information constantly.

Episode 1 serves as an introduction to Ed Sheeran himself, with Ed giving inspirational advice that “You just have to work harder than everyone else.” While some artists would do one gig a night, Ed would hustle constantly performing 3 shows a night and giving out as many CDs as possible to get his music out there. There’s absolutely no doubting that the guy is hard working, and seeing that hustle is one of the highlights of this series.

Meeting Jamal changed everything for Sheeran, and A-Team ends up being Sheeran’s breakaway hit, opening doors and catapulting his career to the stars. Episode 2 is aptly titled “Loss” and looks at Ed’s wife Cherry and Jamal’s death. Episode 3 switches gears and looks more at Ed’s high points in his career, while episode 4 rounds everything out while simultaneously focusing on his career and the next steps.

Unlike the Lewis Capaldi documentary on Netflix, Ed’s by comparison feels carefully ensembled to let us into Ed’s life… but never too close to truly embrace those bad times and grow closer to Ed as a result. There’s a constant reminder of the cameras being in each scene, which Ed himself acknowledging this when he turns to Cherry and says “are you going to say something for the cameras? This silence is a bit awkward.”

Elements of Ed’s darkest moments are completely brushed over too. There’s a single mention of Ed’s potential mental health issues, while we get around 2 minutes dedicated to the copyright lawsuit, which is mostly condensed to TV news reports. Furthermore, the build-up to Ed meeting Eminem, especially given how instrumental he was to helping Ed get over his stutter, is reduced to one song cameo on stage. We don’t even see their first meeting backstage.

There are also a couple of moments here that feel like scripted soundbites, with Cherry mentioning that Ed “doesn’t really cry in general.” And then across the 4 episodes we see him shed tears or become teary-eyed on multiple occasions.

However, the crux of the documentary celebrates Ed’s career and looks at his highest moments more than anything else. There are numerous shots of Ed performing his hits at big and small venues, while highlighting how some of these songs were incepted. In fact, Ed boasts that on 6 different occasions he’s written songs in about 30 minutes or so.

Those looking for a celebratory documentary looking at Ed Sheeran’s career and enjoying his music will be in their element here. There’s lots of different songs shown off across multiple stadiums around the world and Ed speaks candidly about his experiences. However, if you’re looking for a proper deep-dive into Ed Sheeran’s career, with all the highs and lows that come with that, this is one sum that doesn’t quite add up.

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  • Verdict - 6.5/10

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