Netflix is bringing a bit of the UK back across the pond by pickcing up the streaming rights to BBC’s soccer drama United, staring former Doctor Who headliner David Tennant.
United, the 90 minute telefilm, tells the true and tragic story of British European Airways Flight 609 which crashed in Munich on February 6, 1958 following its third attempt at takeoff. Caused by a slush covered runway, the crash took the lives of eight of Manchester United’s football stars and also left two so badly injured they never played again.
Tennant portrays Coach Jimmy Murphy, who is charged with the herculean task of rebuilding the broken team, nicknamed the “Busby Babes” after the club’s legendary manager Matt Busby, who also nearly died in the disaster.
Outside of the climatic air tragedy, the drama primarily focuses on the relationship between assistant manager/coach Jimmy Murphy and young hot-shot player Bobby Charlton played Skins star Jack O’Connell. Beginning two years before the crash in 1956, the film moves from Murphy giving Charlton his first opportunity to play for Manchester United’s first team through the group’s interactions and success before and after the incident that left only four players who are able to play.
In an interview with BBC, Tennant gave some insight on what attracted him to United.
“I’ve worked with James Strong and Chris Chibnall several times before and James sent me the script. I knew it would be worth reading because it came from him. I’m not a football expert but I was completely bowled over by the incredible story and journey that Manchester United went on. I thought that if it had grabbed and moved me as much as that, then clearly the story must be universal, worth telling and something I wanted to be part of.”
United is just the most recent of deals made by Netflix, which seems to be stepping up its game with original programing like Lilyhammer starring Steve Van Zandt of The Sopranos and by obtaining and eyeballing the viewing rights of existing shows. Recently, fans who were hoping cancelled prehistoric drama Terra Nova would see a second season on Netflix – though the service decided to pass on the series due to cost.
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