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David Tennant for Busby Babes BBC drama


Story by Jack Foley

DAVID Tennant is to star in a new BBC drama about the plane crash that killed eight Manchester United players in 1958.

United will bring to life the disaster using first-hand interviews with the survivors and their families. Tennant will star as Welsh-born coach Jimmy Murphy.

The Man Utd players became known as the Busby Babes after their manager, Sir Matt Busby, who helped the side to become the youngest to win the football league.

Tennant’s character, Murphy, was not involved in the fatal crash but helped to piece together the team as Busby recovered from his injuries, managing to steer United to that season’s FA Cup Final.

In the same year, as Wales coach, he guided his country to the World Cup quarter-finals, where they lost to eventual winners Brazil.

The names of the eight players who died are Roger Byrne, Eddie Colman, Mark Jones, Duncan Edwards, Billy Whelan, Tommy Taylor, David Pegg and Geoff Bent.

Jackie Blanchflower and senior player Johnny Berry were also injured to such an extent that they never played again.

At the time of the accident, the team were on their way home from a European Cup match against Red Star Belgrade.

The tragedy occurred when the Ambassador prop-plane they were travelling in skidded off the runway on its third attempt to get airborne for the onward flight during a stop-off in Munich to refuel.

In total, half of the 44 passengers – which also included United staff, journalists, supporters and crew – were killed.

Joining Tennant on the series will be young actor Jack O’Connell, who will play Bobby Charlton, and Sam Claflin, as Duncan Edwards, who died 15 days after the crash.

As yet, the actor playing Busby hasn’t been named.