TV & Showbiz

New BBC drama film to tell the ‘devastating’ true story of football sexual abuse victim

The new feature-length drama tells the "impactful and important" story of a former professional footballer, Andy Woodward.

Emily Sergeant Emily Sergeant - 30th March 2022

A new BBC drama film about one of the victims of the UK football sexual abuse scandal is to hit our TV screens this spring.

BBC Two has announced that it is to air the new 80-minute feature-length drama that tells the “impactful and important” story of a former professional footballer, Andy Woodward, whose brave revelations about the sexual abuse he suffered as a youth player sent shockwaves throughout the industry and across the globe.

Floodlights was written by the award-winning screenwriter Matt Greenhalgh, directed by BAFTA-nominated Nick Rowland, and adapted for TV by production company Expectation.

The film has been made with the full cooperation of Andy Woodward, the BBC says.

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In November 2016, Andy shocked the world when he found the strength to go public about horrific sexual abuse by his youth coach, Barry Bennell.

After doing so, hundreds more men – many also victims of Bennell, who worked as a coach with connections to a number of North West clubs – had the courage to speak up about their harrowing experiences of abuse too, which contributed to lifting the lid on a national scandal in the country’s most popular sport.

A description for the factual drama by the BBC reads: “Floodlights depicts Andy’s life, from a boy with a passion for the game to a successful professional footballer who seemingly has the world at his feet, until, no longer able to ignore the haunting memories of the abuse he was subject to by his youth coach, his career is cut short.

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“It examines the power and control held by Bennell, grooming young players and their families with the promise of making their dreams come true.”

It stars former Shameless star, Gerard Kearns, as Andy Woodward.

Jonas Armstrong (Hollington Drive, The Bay), Morven Christie (Lockwood & Co, The A Word), and Steve Edge (Benidorm, The Madame Blanc Mysteries) also form part of the wider cast.

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Speaking ahead of the film’s release this spring, Andy Woodward said: “Since speaking out in 2016, I’ve wanted to continue to encourage people to talk without fear, to make a change. Floodlights tells my story, which no child should ever have to go through.

“I hope this film helps to stop abuse in football and in all areas of life.”

Gerard Kearns added of his role: “I am honoured to be playing Andrew Woodward, and hope that we have done his story justice.”

Floodlights will air on BBC Two and BBC iPlayer this spring.

Featured Image – BBC