Floodlights BBC Two Andy Woodward
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Floodlights on BBC Two: Andy Woodward’s story of abuse by coach Barry Bennell

Drama about the abuse Andy Woodward suffered at the hands of coach Barry Bennell

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Floodlights on BBC Two tells the devastating story of Andy Woodward and the abuse he suffered at the hands of coach Barry Bennell.

The drama follows on from last year’s powerful documentary Football’s Darkest Secret, which exposed the scandal of child abuse by football coaches.

Floodlights reconstructs the story of Andy Woodward, the former professional footballer who went public with the horrors of his abuse by youth coach Barry Bennell.

Here’s everything you need to know about Floodlights on BBC Two.

Gerard Kearns as Andy Woodward in Floodlights
Gerard Kearns as Andy Woodward in Floodlights (Credit: BBC Two)

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Is Floodlights on BBC Two about Andy Woodward a true story?

Floodlights on BBC Two is a feature-length drama telling the real story of former professional footballer Andy Woodward.

In 2016, Andy revealed he had been groomed and sexually assaulted as a youth player at the hands of his coach Barry Bennell.

At the start of the drama, we’re told: “On November 16, 2016, a former professional plunged British football into its biggest ever crisis and changed sport forever.”

That footballer was Andy Woodward – or Woody to his teammates.

He waived his anonymity to speak publicly about the abuse he suffered at the hands of predatory coach Barry Bennell.

Is Floodlights on BBC Two a drama?

Floodlights is a drama depicting Andy’s life – from a boy who seemingly had the world at his feet, to a victim of sexual abuse.

Understandably, his career was cut short after being unable to ignore the haunting memories of the abuse he was subject to by his youth coach.

The film examines the power and control held by Barry Bennell.

Barry groomed multiple young players and their families with the promise of making their dreams come true.

Scriptwriter Matt Greenhalgh – who wrote the award-winning Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool – tells a dark and troubling story that begins in 1997.

At that time, the adult Andy Woodward was playing for Bury.

Two police officers approached him after a football match, saying they were investigating other possible victims of Barry Bennell.

Andy Woodward subsequently found the courage to speak out about his abuser Barry Bennell.

In the storm that followed, hundreds of men made allegations against hundreds of their childhood coaches.

In traumatic scenes retold in Floodlights on BBC Two, Andy Woodward eventually confronted Barry in prison.

Andy told Barry that his actions damaged his career.

To which sick Barry replied: “I made your football career, so that makes us even.

“All I did was love you… Still do.”

Jonas Armstrong plays Barry Bennell in Floodlights
Jonas Armstrong plays Barry Bennell in Floodlights (Credit: BBC Two)

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How many episodes is Andy Woodward drama Floodlights on BBC Two?

Floodlights is a feature-length episode.

It’s a 80-minute film, airing on Tuesday May 17 2022.

The drama starts at 9pm on BBC Two, and ends at 10.20pm.

It will be available to watch on BBC iPlayer afterwards.

How can I watch Football’s Darkest Secrets?

Football’s Darkest Secrets is still available to watch on BBC iPlayer.

Episode one is an hour long, and focuses on Andy Woodward’s horrific abuse.

Former players Paul Stewart and David White also describe being abused by coaches Barry Bennell and Frank Roper.

The programme charts these survivors from the years of abuse during their early adolescence, then explores how it affected them as they tried to pursue their footballing dreams as professionals.

Episode two follows the investigation into former Southampton youth coach Bob Higgins, filming alongside Hampshire Police detectives as they conduct interviews with Higgins and the survivors.

The third and final episode begins in Newcastle with the stories of survivors who suffered at the hands of George Ormond, a youth coach connected to Newcastle United.

Andy Woodward as he is today
Andy Woodward as he is today (Credit: BBC Two)

Who plays Andy Woodward in the cast of Floodlights on BBC Two?

Gerard Kearns plays Andy Woodward in Floodlights on BBC Two.

Actor Gerard, 37, is probably most famous for playing Ian Gallagher in Shameless from 2004 to 2010.

Since then, he’s played Daniel in The Town, Little Al in The Smoke, and Halig in The Last Kingdom.

He portrayed Pravik in the devastating drama Chernobyl, and Tommy Marshall in The English Game.

The Julian Fellowes drama, available to watch on Netflix, tells the the story of the invention of football and how it quickly rose to become the world’s most popular game by crossing class divides.

Steve Edge portrays Terry Woodward

Actor Terry Woodward stars as Andy Woodward’s dad Terry.

Andy’s parents were groomed as much as their son – with promises of success and stardom.

Steve Edge, 49, is often associated with comedic roles.

He’s known for playing Alan in Phoenix Nights, and Doddsy in Mike Bassett: Manager.

The actor starred as Sgt. Swithenback in I’m With Stupid, Clint in The Visit, Terry McConnell in The Cup, and a multitude of characters in Star Stories.

Benidorm fans will know him as Billy Dawson, and he also played Bigsy in Scarborough.

More recently, he’s played Dom Hayes in The Madame Blanc Mysteries, Freddie Archer in Death in Paradise, Tony in Housebound, and Steve Jameson in Dun Breedin’.

He can definitely play it straight, too – just watch him as Graham Tattersall in the brilliant Happy Valley.

Anthony Byrne as Neil Warnock
Anthony Byrne as Neil Warnock in the cast of Floodlights (Credit: BBC Two)

Morven Christie stars as Jean Woodward in Floodlights

Morven Christie portrays Andy Woodward’s mum in Floodlights.

Yes, it’s a stretch as there is only three years between them in real life!

Morven, 40, is best known for playing DS Lisa Armstrong in The Bay, and Alison Hughes in The A Word.

Viewers will also recognise her from her roles as Kirsten Lindstrom in Ordeal by Innocence, Amanda Hopkins in Grantchester, and Ellen in The Replacement.

She’s also been in Twenty Twelve, Hunted, Death in Paradise, and Silent Witness.

Jonas Armstrong plays Barry Bennell in Floodlights on BBC Two

Jonas Armstrong is horribly persuasive as creepy coach Barry Bennell, who describes himself as the “star maker”.

The 41-year-old actor has worked with Morven before – they got intimate in the first series of The Bay!

In 2004, Jonas started out as Anthony Millington in Channel 4 comedy drama Teachers.

He went on to play Pete Maitland in The Ghost Squad a year later.

Jonas’ role as Robin Hood in the BBC One series was the one that catapulted him to fame.

He portrayed the Sherwood Forest hero from 2006 to 2009, until the show was axed.

Jonas went on to star as Steve in Prisoners Wives, Joe in Line of Duty and Nathanial in Ripper Street.

In 2018, he played Menelaus in Troy: Fall of a City, before guest starring as Dylan Shepherd in Death in Paradise.

He played Sean Meredith in the first series of The Bay.

More recently, he’s starred as Finn Coleman in Ghost Seekers, Jason in The Drowning, and Gareth in Hollington Drive.

Floodlights cast
Morven Christie as Jean Woodward, Steve Edge as Terry Woodward, and Gerard Kearns as Andy Woodward (Credit: BBC Two)

Who else is in the cast of Floodlights on BBC Two?

Newcomer Max Fletcher plays a Young Woody.

Neil Bell stars as DS Haleford.

Corrie fans will recognise him as Mick Chaney in the ITV soap, a role he played across 2020 and 2021.

Outlander actor Antony Byrne plays Neil Warnock.

Meanwhile, David Loy plays a physio, Akib Ahmed stars as a radio journalist, Mark Holgate portrays DC Blakefield, and Mohammad Sakhi is Ash Stephenson.

Lawton Dickens is Batzy, Frankie Friend plays Jobbo, Robert Ashcroft is a club official, and Gentleman Jack actress Jessica Baglow – aka Hemingway – stars as DC Grace.

Benjamin Oyenuga plays Martin Sanusi, Chris Anderson is Chris, Lauren O’Rourke stars as DI Arrowcroft, and Matthew Hawksley portrays DS Denmyre.

Elsewhere, Krissi Bohn is DI Bakewell, Avin Shah stars as Older Ash and Sean Croke portrays Danny Taylor.

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Floodlights airs on Tuesday May 17 2022 at 9pm on BBC Two.

Will you be tuning in to watch Floodlights? Leave us a comment on our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyFix.

Helen Fear
TV Editor