A drama depicting the life of Justin Fashanu, the UK’s first openly gay professional footballer, has been commissioned by ITV. The channel’s head of drama Polly Hill has commissioned Fash, an unflinching, vital and deeply thought-provoking drama series from playwright, writer and director Kwame Kwei-Armah (Elmina’s Kitchen, Breaking) for airing on ITV1 and ITVX.
In 1981, at 20 years old, Justin Fashanu signed to Nottingham Forest, becoming the first black British footballer to be sold for £1 million, becoming one of the most celebrated men in British sport. In 1990, he became the first professional footballer to publicly come out as gay. In 1998, with his football career in tatters and ostracised by his family, Justin took his own life.
John Fashanu, Justin’s brother, is closely involved in the drama, serving as consultant on the series alongside Peter Tatchell and a number of other contributors. The series will be produced by Happy Prince (part of ITV Studios). Fash will premiere on ITV1 and will be available as a boxset on ITVX once the first episode has aired.
John said: “I’m so pleased to be working with Kwame and Happy Prince on this project. Much has been said and written about the relationship Justin and I shared over the years, but drama of this type has an ability to delve right to the beating heart and truth of events in a way other media can’t. I feel privileged to play a part in bringing it to the screen.”