Page last updated at 15:22 GMT, Thursday, 27 November 2008

BBC Two to air George Best drama

Tom Payne in Waterloo Road
Actor Tom Payne says he is 'honoured' to play Best

A factual drama about how alcoholism destroyed the life and career of football legend George Best is to be screened on BBC Two.

Best, which is being aired in the Spring, also reveals how Best's mother Anne was afflicted by the disease.

Actor Tom Payne, who appeared in BBC One drama Waterloo Road, will play the former Manchester United winger.

Belfast-born Best, who had a liver transplant as he battled the effects of alcoholism, died in 2005 aged 59.

'Most famous victim'

Actress Michelle Fairley, who appeared alongside Nicole Kidman in movie The Others, will take on the role of Best's mother.

Payne, 26, said he was "excited and honoured to the playing the role of footballing hero and icon George Best".

George Best
George Best is regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time

The film, which is set in Manchester and Belfast during the 1960s and 1970s, is billed as a "sensitive study of the impact of alcoholism".

Executive producer Nick Mirsky said: "George Best is the most charismatic footballer the UK has ever produced, but he's also our most famous victim of alcoholism."

He called Belfast-based television dramatist Terry Cafolla's script "deeply sympathetic, through which you can really understand the effect of alcohol not only on George, but his mother and indirectly the rest of the family".

The film will be screened as part of the BBC's Headroom initiative, a rolling offering of programmes and online content to raise awareness of mental health issues.

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SEE ALSO
Obituary: George Best
25 Nov 05 |  UK

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