Ed Sheeran: The Sum of it All (Disney+) – cheat sheet

A quick primer on Disney+'s new docuseries about a little-known singer born in Halifax, West Yorkshire ... rumours are he could be huge one day.

What’s this?

For the first time ever, global superstar Ed Sheeran opens the doors to his private life as he explores the universal themes that inspire his music in this four-part series. 

Sounds a bit saccharine?

The series also sees Sheeran discussing his best friend and fellow music-biz star (credited with giving Sheeran his first leg-up) Jamal Edwards, who died in 2022, aged just 31. The documentary explores their friendship and Sheeran’s ongoing grief, and has been described as ‘searingly honest’.

What does that mean?

Le Creuset defines ‘searing’ as: ‘a cooking technique that exposes ingredients (typically meat) to a high temperature to create a crisp browning on the outside. This method enhances the flavour of the dish and is often done in a small amount of oil, butter or fat.’ The ‘honest’ bit just means honest.

Is there a trailer?

Do you think anyone will watch?

Sheeran’s 2017 ÷ Tour is listed as the most profitable of all time, grossing an estimated $776 million after playing to almost nine million fans over 255 events, bringing in more than $3 million per show. His shows in Melbourne in March 2023 broke records at the MCG, with 108,000 fans the first night and 109,500 the second. As of 2019, he had sold more than 150 million records worldwide. So … yes, there should be a decent in-built audience.

Read: What to watch in May: new to streaming, cinemas and film festivals near you

Do say

‘The club isn’t the best place to find a lover/ So the bar is where I go …’

Don’t say

Remember when he appeared briefly in Game of Thrones and everyone thought it was the lowest point of the show, until the final season aired and everyone realised his appearance was roughly halfway between the worst and best bits?

When and where can I watch it?

Ed Sheeran: The Sum of it All premieres on Disney+ on 3 May.

Paul Dalgarno is author of the novels A Country of Eternal Light (2023) and Poly (2020); the memoir And You May Find Yourself (2015); and the creative non-fiction book Prudish Nation (2023). He was formerly Deputy Editor of The Conversation and joined ScreenHub as Managing Editor in 2022. X: @pauldalgarno. Insta: @dalgarnowrites