A new three-part documentary series commissioned for BBC One and iPlayer about historical child abuse in English football, directed by Bafta-winner Daniel Gordon (Hillsborough, The Australian Dream). The series will examine abuse that has taken place in youth football all across the country, from Manchester to Newcastle, Crewe to Southampton.
From the mid 1970s until the mid 1990s, several coaches and scouts connected to top football clubs abused their positions of power to prey on vulnerable, young boys - and got away with it for decades.
Many survivors were shamed into silence until Andy Woodward’s decision to waive his anonymity in November 2016 sparked hundreds of men to speak out. More than 800 victims have since come forward with 340 football clubs implicated and 300 suspects identified.
Three years in the making, Football’s Darkest Secret is the definitive account of this dark chapter in English football and the ensuing attempts to seek justice decades later. The story is told by survivors, their relatives, police officers, coaches and journalists.
Together, they chart the abuse and its aftermath as some survivors rise to footballing fame whilst others walk away from the game - all deeply affected in their own way and all carrying a hidden secret.
The series aims to shine a light on the damaging ripple effect caused by child sexual abuse and offers a unique insight into the way it impacts survivors and their families - from that first time the abuse takes place, right through the course of their lives.
The production follows behind the scenes of several high-profile criminal trials as survivors confront questions around how this abuse was able to continue undetected for so long. The results are as painful as they are cathartic.