David Tennant Gets United

In a film about the Busby Babes

Since he finished his stint in the TARDIS, David Tennant’s acting career – on screen, at least – has been a bit of a rollercoaster, with some film roles (Burke & Hare) passing him by and others (Fright Night) landing in his lap. Now he’s signed on for a new film that will follow the story of Manchester United’s legendary Busby Babes.

No, United is not a snigger-filled look at Page Three models playing footie. It’ll actually tell the true events surrounding the club’s young team, most of who were recruited from within the ranks as opposed to being snagged from elsewhere in the league (or the world, as is so often the case these days). Manager Matt Busby, along with scout Joe Armstrong and coach Jimmy Murphy, saw their faith in the players pay off with league championships in both 1956 and 1957. But tragedy struck in February 1958 when eight of the team were killed in the Munich air disaster.

Tennant is playing Murphy, with the roles of Armstrong and Busby himself yet to be cast. But Skins’ Jack O’Connell is Bobby Charlton, who survived the crash to go on to managerial status and a knighthood, and The Pillars of the Earth star Sam Clafin is Duncan Edwards, who perished two weeks after the crash.

The Doctor Who connections don’t end with Tennant, as the BBC is behind the movie, regular Who director James Strong is hoisting the megaphone for his first film and the script is by Who/Torchwood writer Chris Chibnall. It all kicks off shooting shortly.