Best – His Mother’s Son is a fact-based drama that tells the remarkable but little-known story of George Best’s relationship with his alcoholic mother. It’s a poignant tale that foreshadows the very public transformation of one of Britain’s most glamorous stars into one of its most notorious alcoholics.
The film concentrates on the period between 1966 and 1973, when Manchester United went from victory in Europe to relegation to the Second Division, George Best went from superstardom to retirement aged just 26, and his mother went from teetotaller to alcoholic.
Best – His Mother’s Son stars Michelle Fairley as George’s mother, Ann (A Short Stay In Switzerland, The Street, Ahead Of The Class, The Others), and Tom Payne (Waterloo Road) as George. Lorcan Cranitch (Cracker, Omagh, Rome) takes on the role of Dickie Best.
The script is written by one of Northern Ireland’s leading dramatists, Terry Cafolla, who was nominated for a Bafta for Holy Cross. It is produced and directed by Colin Barr, who made the Emmy award-winning drama, Maxwell, and 10 Days To War, which recently won an RTS Award.
The drama begins in 1966 when 19-year-old George Best, who plays for Manchester United, is riding high on the crest of footballing stardom. He is scoring goals left, right and centre and, off the field, girls are throwing themselves at his feet. Meanwhile, at home in Belfast, his family is living in the same terraced house that George grew up in, but there’s one big difference – the golden boy has gone. George’s mum, Ann, feels the absence fiercely.
In George’s place, there is a growing sense that the family is becoming public property. Every time George scores a goal, they are besieged by the press. Every time he steps out of line, they are ambushed by a Belfast public that regards George as its own son.
This is the story of how an ordinary, loving, close-knit family deals with the extraordinary phenomenon of celebrity in an age where there were no precedents.
At first, armed with their natural wit, humour and realism, the family seem insulated from the corrosive effects of celebrity. But, when the hitherto teetotal Ann takes her first sip of alcohol, the destiny of this robust and happy family is changed for ever…
Sunday 26 April, 9.00-10.30pm BBC TWO