'Revealing' portrait of Speed to be shown on S4C


Hayley Collins

WELSH footballing legend Gary Speed will be the focus of a new documentary on S4C.

At yesterday’s launch of the National Eisteddfod in the Vale of Glamorgan, it was revealed that programme makers have commissioned a documentary about the late footballer who grew up in Flintshire.

The programme will be a revealing portrait of Speed by his close friend, the former footballer and sports commentator John Hartson.

It is the first detailed portrait to be broadcast on television with the full co-operation of his family, who still live in Courtland Drive, Aston.

Wales captain-turned-manager Speed – who played for Leeds, Everton and Newcastle among other big clubs – died in November last year, aged 42.

He was found hanged in the garage at his home near Chester, but a coroner at his inquest in January said he could not be satisfied the ex-Premier League star intended to kill himself.

The documentary is one of the first commissioned by Llion Iwan, who is responsible for S4C’s factual and current affairs programmes.

The film is produced by Rondo, the company responsible for popular flagship series Sgorio, where John Hartson is a regular commentator and analyst. Llion Iwan said: “The docufilm will shed new light on Gary Speed’s life and glittering career.

“It is groundbreaking in the sense that the iconic footballer’s friends and family will contribute.

“This will also be the first time John Hartson, who played alongside the former Wales manager, fronts a documentary on television and we’ll look at Gary Speed’s contribution to football, Wales and the world through his unique perspective.”

It is one of a series of documentaries profiling three of Wales’ most prominent figures that will be featured on S4C over the coming months.

The others include a film portrayal of the inspirational and enigmatic writer Gerallt Lloyd Owen as well as singer Gruff Rhys’ ‘docufilm’ set in Patagonia, Separado!

Mr Iwan added: “The documentaries each focus on iconic characters from very different worlds.

“But what brings the three together is that they had a great impact on popular culture here in Wales.”

The documentary will be aired in November to mark the anniversary of his death.
l AS the Leader reported last month the field where Speed played football as a child is to be named in his honour.

Members of Hawarden Community Council decided at their last meeting to rename the field in Aston, yards from Aston Park playing field, after the former Hawarden High School pupil.

The council will also place a memorial bench and plaque in memory of the footballer in the park.

The name of the park is expected to be approved by the council next month.

See full story in the Leader

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