Zig Zag has been commissioned by BBC to make Football Academy, a documentary series following the young players and staff of the academy at Southampton Football Club.
The series will air this Autumn in the countdown to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
The 15×30’ series, for CBBC, was filmed during the 2021/22 season and will track the highs and lows of key characters at the academy, with “unprecedented” access to teams from the U8s through to the U15s. The cameras will follow the stories of young footballers from the male, female and disability teams.
Narrated by Alan Carr, whose father was a professional football team manager at Northampton Town amongst others, the new show also sees Southampton first team and England international players James Ward-Prowse, Nathan Redmond and Kyle Walker-Peters take part in a range of football challenges with the academy pupils.
The documentary series, executive produced by Danny Fenton and Andy Scott, with Will Innes as series producer, features guest appearances from Liverpool’s Mo Salah, and Premier League legends Alan Shearer and Micah Richards amongst others.
Bolstering the main TV series are 5×3’ You Tube shortform films starring popular football influencer Kieran Brown, and a special BBC Learning film about careers in football.
Andy Scott, Head of Entertainment at Zig Zag, and Football Academy Executive Producer commented: “The show will provide a fascinating behind the scenes insight to what it takes to become a professional footballer. Southampton Football Club are considered visionaries when it comes to developing young talent, and the access they provided will give children nationwide a valuable and unique look inside a Premier League football club. We’re delighted to be working with BBC on this project and in a World Cup year, it will only serve to heighten anticipation of the tournament for young viewers on CBBC.”
Fabiola Wilcox, Director of Brand Experience & Communications at Southampton Football Club commented: “Our club has a rich history of nurturing talent and providing a pathway for young players into the professional game. With this documentary series, we’re giving an insight into the work that happens day in day out across our academy and Regional Talent Centres in the UK. We want children to understand what it takes to become the professional footballers of tomorrow and the key role our staff can play in developing those key life skills that will set them up for success whether they stick with football or not. We’re incredibly proud to be working with both Zig Zag and the BBC on this project and hope it will inspire many more generations to come.”
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