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Floodlights preview: Football sex abuse factual drama will make the skin crawl

Floodlights — Four out of Five stars

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Gerard Kearns stars as real-life footballer Andy Woodward, who was sexually abused by youth team coach Barry Bennell

Gerard Kearns stars as real-life footballer Andy Woodward, who was sexually abused by youth team coach Barry Bennell

Gerard Kearns stars as real-life footballer Andy Woodward, who was sexually abused by youth team coach Barry Bennell

FLOODLIGHTS (BBC2, tonight, 9pm) is, to mangle a bit of old football parlance, a factual drama of two halves. The first is a skin-crawlingly disturbing account of child sexual abuse; the second a look at the long, emotionally and psychologically destructive shadow it can cast across a victim’s life.

Unlike in a football match, however, the two halves aren’t clearly defined. They constantly bleed into one another as the 80-minute film’s narrative shifts back and forth in time.
The story of former footballer Andy Woodward, who was regularly sexually abused from the age of 11 to 13 by Crew Alexander’s paedophile youth coach Barry Bennell, kept it a secret for 30-odd years and finally went public in 2016, with a devastating effect on the sport, has already been told elsewhere.


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