Hillsborough (film)

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Hillsborough film title screen
Genre Docudrama
Written by Jimmy McGovern
Directed by Charles McDougall
Theme music composer Rob Lane
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
Executive producer(s)
  • Ian McBride
  • Gub Neal
Producer(s) Nicola Shindler
Cinematography Barry Ackroyd
Running time 101 minutes
Production company(s) Granada Television
Budget £2 million
Original network ITV
Picture format PAL (576i)
Audio format Stereo
Original release
  • 5 December 1996 (1996-12-05)

Hillsborough is a television film written by Jimmy McGovern and starring Christopher Eccleston and Ricky Tomlinson. Set between 1989 and 1991, the film tells the story of the Hillsborough disaster, which saw 96 football supporters lose their lives at Hillsborough in Sheffield.

The film was produced by Granada Television for ITV and aired for the first time on 5 December 1996. Since then, it has been repeated four times: 10 years after the disaster (15 April 1999), 20 years after the disaster (17 April 2009), on 14 September 2012 after the report by the Hillsborough Independent Panel was published, and on 1 May 2016 after the conclusion of the second inquest which ruled that the 96 victims were unlawfully killed.


In April 1989, Liverpool and Nottingham Forest met in the semi-finals of the FA Cup. The match was played at Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield but was abandoned shortly after the match had started when it became clear that the fans packed in to the Leppings Lane end of the ground were being crushed against fencing. 94 fans died that day, with a 95th victim dying a few days later, and the final death toll reaching 96 in 1993.


The film was produced after the death of the final victim, Tony Bland, who died in March 1993 after being in a coma for nearly four years, but the time setting of the film concluded two years before Bland's death, when the death toll still stood at 95.


The drama starred Eccleston as Trevor Hicks, whose story formed the focus of the script. Hicks lost both of his daughters (19-year-old Sarah and 15-year-old Victoria) in the Hillsborough disaster, and went on to campaign for safer stadiums, as well as helping form the Hillsborough Families Support Group. The trauma of Hillsborough contributed to the collapse of his marriage to wife Jennifer during 1990.[1] Other families featured were those of Ian Glover (20) and Adam Spearritt (14). Tomlinson was another notable actor to appear in the film, portraying the father of Ian Glover, while Mark Womack played the part of Adam Spearritt's father Eddie. The story starts as the events unfold and ends in the spring of 1991, some two years after the tragedy, when the inquest recorded a verdict of accidental death on the 95 victims (Tony Bland was still alive at the time), much to the outrage of the families of the victims.


The film was generally well received by the public and television critics. The Independent Television Commission praised Granada for the drama in its annual programme review, describing it as 'arguably the most powerful drama on the screen in 1996'.[2] It won the BAFTA Television Award in 1997 for Best Single Drama, Best Editing and Best Sound. In 2000, the British Film Industry placed Hillsborough at number 54 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Television Programmes.

Home media[edit]

Five months after the twentieth anniversary of the tragedy, on 7 September 2009, the Hillsborough docu-drama was released on DVD.[3]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Fitzwalter, Raymond (2008). The Dream That Died: The Rise and Fall of ITV. Troubador Publishing Ltd. p. 286. ISBN 1-906221-83-9. 
  3. ^ "Hillsborough". Network DVD. Retrieved 7 May 2011. 

External links[edit]