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Footballers' Wives

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8.5/10 TV

No. of series  5
First episode date  8 January 2002
Networks  ITV, M6 Boutique & Co
6.5/10 IMDb

Country of origin  United Kingdom
Executive producer(s)  Brian Park
Final episode date  14 April 2006
Footballers' Wives wwwgstaticcomtvthumbtvbanners236273p236273
Created by  Maureen Chadwick Ann McManus
Starring  Susie Amy Peter Ash Sarah Barrand Jesse Birdsall Philip Bretherton Jessica Brooks Caroline Chikezie Nathan Constance Jamie Davis John Forgeham Craig Gallivan Lucia Giannecchini Helen Latham Julie Legrand Zöe Lucker Gary Lucy Marcel McCalla Katherine Monaghan Alison Newman Phina Oruche Ben Price Ben Richards Angela Ridgeon Jay Rodan Laila Rouass Daniel Schutzmann Cristian Solimeno Tom Swire Gillian Taylforth Chucky Venn
Producer(s)  Liz Lake Claire Phillips Sean O'Connor Cameron Roach
Cast  Zöe Lucker, Laila Rouass, Susie Amy, Gillian Taylforth, Helen Latham

Footballers' Wives (stylised as footballers wive$) is a British television drama surrounding the fictional Premier League football club Earls Park F.C., its players, and their wives. It was broadcast on the ITV network from 8 January 2002 to 14 April 2006. The show began with a multi-lateral focus on a variety of different types of relationships explored; however, from the third series onward, the primary focus was on a complex love triangle between Tanya Turner (Zöe Lucker), Amber Gates (Laila Rouass) and Conrad Gates (Ben Price).


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Footballers' Wives Footballers39 Wives the Official site of the sensational drama

The show, an "enormous hit," centered on the fictional 'Earls Park Football Club' (nicknamed 'Sparks'). The series, based on the book, Footballers' Wives Tell Their Tales, by Shelley Webb, wife of British footballer Neil Webb, was produced by Liz Lake, Claire Phillips, and Cameron Roach. Its executive producer was Brian Park. The show began as an ensemble of three different football-couple 'types'. But from the third series on, the show more or less revolved around the character Tanya Turner (Zöe Lucker). Lucker left the series halfway through series four, though she returned midway through the next series, by which time the series' ratings had fallen significantly, therefore certifying Lucker as the main star of the show although the series was cancelled in 2006.

Footballers' Wives Footballers39 Wives TV Series 2002 IMDb

On 11 January 2007, Channel 5's sister channel Five Life bought up the rights to broadcast the entire series. It has so far shown the first series, with the first episode shown on 7 March 2007 at 9pm. The series was then taken over by ITV. Fiver then started showing episodes from the second series. From June 2010, Footballers' Wives began appearing on the new channel CBS Drama being followed by a huge marketing campaign in print media and on the sides of buses.

Footballers' Wives Footballers39 Wives the Official site of the sensational drama

In the earlier series, Earls Park Football Club's home games were played at the real life Selhurst Park, which is the home of Crystal Palace Football Club. From series three onward, stadium shots were filmed at White Hart Lane.

Footballers' Wives Footballers39 Wives Series 2 3DVDS ALL REGIONS Amazoncouk

The U.S. ABC television network ordered a pilot for an American version, named Football Wives. Lucy Lawless, Gabrielle Union, Eddie Cibrian, Kiele Sanchez, and James Van Der Beek were confirmed as part of the cast but ABC cancelled the show due to "potential conflicts with the National Football League".

Series 2 (2003)

Footballers' Wives Footballers39 Wives the Official site of the sensational drama

Series two was shown between 8 January and 26 February 2003 with eight episodes. Series 2 begins with Tanya and Jason in court, lying on oath. The British population is convinced that Frank is deranged and that he tried to rape Tanya. Charges are dropped, and Tanya walks away scot-free. Chardonnay Lane-Pascoe and Kyle Pascoe raise Jackie Pascoe's baby son Paddy as theirs. At the series' end, Jason sits on the rooftop, drunk and feeling sorry for himself, but as he slips and desperately grasps for a life-saving hold on the ledge, an unseen (by the audience) assailant hits his hands with a champagne bottle, causing him to fall to his death. Series two was produced by Claire Phillips.

Series 3 (2004)

Series three was shown between 11 February and 7 April 2004, with nine episodes. The series begins with Chardonnay's funeral following her death from anorexia. It is also revealed that she killed Jason. Tanya marries Frank Laslett as Jason had left her in debt. He also wanted her to admit that he did not rape her and that Jason had made her lie in court. Kyle finds new romance. Tanya has an affair with the new captain Conrad Gates and endures his jealous wife, Amber Gates. Tanya and Amber soon became arch-enemies and have a vicious catfight. Amber Gates fakes her own kidnapping when Conrad starts seeing Tanya. Harley Lawson and Shannon Donnelly's lives are turned upside down when he becomes Earls Park's new signing. Conrad also has an affair with new signing Noah Alexander. The season ends with a shocking cliff-hanger. Tanya is pregnant with Frank's child. She killed Frank for his money by "shagging him to death" on a lethal combination of Viagra, alcohol and cocaine. When Amber Gates announces that she is pregnant with Conrad's child, Tanya tries to keep Conrad by claiming that she too is expecting his child. Series three was produced by Sean O'Connor. This series was nominated for a National Television Award in 2004, the only time the series was nominated.

Series 4 (2005)

The fourth was shown between 31 March and 26 May 2005 with nine episodes. Tanya and Amber both have their babies; Tanya had the babies swapped at birth to hide the possibility that hers could be Frank's, but this backfired when Amber's son (Tanya's, really) was smothered to death by Amber's dog. When the swap was discovered, Conrad and Amber claimed their rightful baby back and banished Tanya abroad. The footballers are involved in a rape scandal during a party in Spain. Shannon and Harley have marriage problems and eventually split up. Darius turns out to be the rapist of Katie in Spain, and has a breakdown when she kidnaps him for revenge. Jackie Pascoe marries club manager Roger Webb, who signs his son Seb to the club. Seb tries to cause trouble in their marriage, and is thrown out. Hazel leaves the club with her new girlfriend, a tennis player. New characters Bruno and Lucy Milligan have an adorable daughter, Angelica, but their marriage is eroding due to control-freak Bruno's emotional and sometimes physical abuse of Lucy. Lucy meets Dr. Giles Arrowsmith on the Internet and runs to him with Angelica in tow. He tries to kill Lucy, Angelica, and himself in his car, believing he is re-creating the accident that killed his real fiancée the previous year. Bruno accidentally shoots Conrad, thinking he is Giles. The final episode was considerably edited for broadcast on ITV, though the full episode was shown in Ireland and Australia. Some cuts from the episode were featured in the first series of Footabllers' Wives: Extra Time, others were featured in series five of Footballers' Wives. The episode was restored for the DVD release. Series four was produced by Cameron Roach.

Series 5 (2006)

After Lucy leaves Bruno at the altar of their Pride and Prejudice-themed wedding, Amber takes the lead as the central character and wastes no time getting revenge on Bruno, knowing he killed Conrad. She moves in with him and inflicts her own brand of psychological torture on him by making him think he is losing his mind. Becoming more desperate, Amber tries to poison, then shoot, him. In her last, surely campest scene, she is shown wearing what looks like one of Cher's old costumes. In the struggle, she shoots Roger Webb, who loses his sight. Amber is then sectioned and sent to a mental institution for bleeding on the brain.

With Amber out of the way, Tanya returns and immediately aims to seduce Earls Park's latest star, Paulo Bardosa, and goes head-to-head with Eva de Wolffe (Joan Collins, best known as Dynasty character Alexis Colby). Tanya's joy at snatching Paulo from Eva's clutches is short-lived; he has a breakdown and is taken to a mental hospital, and Tanya finds herself penniless.

Shannon, now divorced from Harley and feeling lonely, is delighted to hook up with the new Earls Park signing, Callum Watson. Shannon moves Callum in, but his interfering mother comes along and causes havoc.

New club chairman Garry Ryan kills Roger, and Jackie leaves to live with her son Kyle in Australia. Tanya discovers evidence that proved Garry's involvement. As series five ends, Tanya is trying to come to a "settlement" with Garry over the tape-recording that proves he caused Roger's death, when he offers her cocaine laced with poison.

New characters include Tremaine Gidigbi and Liberty Baker, who marry in episode 5 in a typically over-the-top Egyptian-themed wedding. Liberty, a top supermodel with a striking resemblance to Naomi Campbell, is exposed by the press for having a lesbian affair with her P.A. Urszula Rosen, then stars in a Japanese advert that makes her look like a cannibal.

The fifth and final series was shown between 23 February and 13 April 2006 and consists of eight episodes, and was produced by Cameron Roach.


In May 2006, it was announced by Shed Productions and ITV that no further series of Footballers' Wives would be commissioned. Its cancellation had been blamed on falling ratings, particularly during the fifth series when it was frequently beaten for audience share in its timeslot by BBC One's Hotel Babylon during the first half of the series. Despite a comeback to win the competition against BBC One's The Family Man (lead-in from Hotel Babylon), the figures did not reach expectations.

Sport Relief special

On Saturday 15 July 2006 in the UK, the BBC made a spoof mini-episode entitled The Last Ever, Ever Footballers' Wives as part of Sport Relief that was broadcast during the live telethon. The six-minute episode featured four cast members from the last season, Zöe Lucker, Sarah Barrand, Laila Rouass, Halacy Kurenski and Ben Richards, who played their respective roles, with Sport Relief host Graham Norton playing new Sparks captain Brendan Spunk.


The episode opens with Tanya waltzing into a swanky expensive restaurant, her face covered in 'powder'. She is having dinner with Shannon, who has ordered for her from the children's menu. Tanya finds using cutlery difficult because of her longer nails, so uses her fingers. A waiter arrives with a telephone call for Shannon, but she takes the phone and puts it in her purse, then claims to have "gone" and asks what has happened. Tanya tells her that "Paulo has had a sex change and shacked up with James Blunt, oh, and Bruno Milligan has been sacked from Earls Park and has been replaced by a brand-new hunky captain, Brendan Spunk". We then see Amber at the bar and Tanya notices her. The three gossip about Brendan Spunk, but when the girls argue over who will get with him, Shannon claims him but Tanya warns them that he is hers. He then arrives, revealing himself to be Halacy Kurenski. When Tanya tries to get her claws into him, he reveals he is with Amber. He then lets them know she will soon be Mrs. Spunk and Amber accepts.

Halacy Kurenski is then in bed grinning and moaning. Tanya appears from under the covers, as does Amber, complimenting his sexual score. Shannon also appears and realises that "someone has put one in the back of her net". The waiter from the restaurant then appears. The door blasts open and Bruno enters holding a machine gun. They all scream, but when everyone has stopped Halacy is still screaming. Amber slaps him. Bruno then relates to the last series, that Halacy has bedded his girlfriend (Amber). She then says that they split up. Bruno then reveals that there will be no series 6 and he then shoots the gun. The group are then shown uninterested and reading Heat magazine. Bruno then blows up the room by setting fire to hair spray with a lighter. A title card reading "The End" is then shown but a question mark shows after and an alarm clock goes off.

Tanya wakes up relieved by the fact that the last series was all a dream. She then lights a cigarette. With hairspray still in the air, this blows up the room, Tanya and all.

Inspiration and connections

Between the third and fourth series of Footballers' Wives, Zöe Lucker's character of Tanya Turner was convicted of possession of drugs and was sent to jail for six months. The company which produces the show, Shed Media, also produce Bad Girls, which centres on a women's prison. For three episodes of Bad Girls' sixth series, the character of Tanya Turner crossed over and was seen being her usual self and causing mischief for others in jail, including being arrested for poisoning inmates. Turner was eventually released when a series of events lead to the Governor forcing a criminal to confess to planting the drugs on her.

Many of the principal characters are thinly veiled caricatures of famous UK footballers, including Justin Fashanu and David Beckham, and their associated wives. Several of the players' antics are based on real life news stories based on footballers' lives, similar to the modern day footballer tabloid tales, or the 1990s Liverpool F.C Spice Boys side, with everything ranging from scandals to the indulgences of being rich and famous.

A number of celebrities made cameo appearances in the series, appearing as themselves. They include: Sol Campbell, Peter Stringfellow, Tara Palmer-Tomkinson, Jordan, Antony Worrall Thompson, Peter Andre, Lionel Blair, David Seaman, Richard Madeley, Judy Finnigan, Teddy Sheringham, Nigel Quashie, Calum Best and Rula Lenska.

Footballers' Wives TV

Footballers Wives TV was a spin-off mockumentary comedy series that was broadcast to tie-in with the original broadcast of the fourth series of Footballers Wives. It aired on Thursdays at 10:30pm on ITV2 and only lasted for one series consisting of eight episodes.

The series was loosely based on the book How to be a Footballers Wife and centred on a chat show presented by Katherine Jakeways and Glenn Hugill as TV presenters Gary Fox and Lorna Miller. Characters from Footballers' Wives appeared in interviews as did parody celebrities.

Footballers' Wives: Extra Time

With the success of Footballers' Wives came the spin-off series, Footballers' Wives: Extra Time that began on ITV2 on 26 May 2005. It appeared after series four of the original and several characters, including Bruno and Lucy Milligan, Seb Webb, Harley and Shannon Lawson, Katie Jones and Amber Gates, appeared. The first series features the sister of Tanya Turner, Anika Beevor. Series two began on 23 February 2006 with Peter Ash as Darius Fry and Julie Legrand as Janette Dunkley from the original series as regular cast members. Nicholas Ball, who portrayed Garry Ryan in the series, crossed over to Footballers' Wives for series 5 as the new Chairman of Earl's Park Football Club. The series' executive producer was Cameron Roach. It was shown in the United States under the name Footballers' Wives: Overtime.

Foreign audience

Footballers' Wives has been shown in Portugal, Brazil, New Zealand, Sweden, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Australia, Canada, Colombia, Bulgaria, Germany, the Republic of Macedonia, France, Estonia, Finland, South Africa, Hungary, Serbia, Slovenia, Denmark and the United States. The Swedish broadcaster Kanal 5 retitled the show "Fotbollsfruar", which translates to Football Wives.

It began in the United States in the summer of 2005 on BBC America. The channel has shown series 1-5 and both seasons of Overtime.

In South Africa the show appeared on SABC 3 on Monday nights at 21h00. It was very popular. Aall five series have been shown.

The show appears in Ireland on TV3. Many Irish viewers receive Ulster Television (UTV) (a subsidiary of ITV) and also watch it on that channel. Often, the same episodes air at the same time.

In Turkey, Footballers' Wives is on e2. e2 has shown the first four series; the fifth season will be shown in spring.

In 2007 in the Netherlands, a similar series, Voetbalvrouwen (a literal Dutch translation) was launched. It was a huge success and in 2010 season 3 will appear on the Dutch channel RTL4. The original Footballers' Wives series were also shown in the Netherlands with Dutch subtitles.

In Germany, RTL made an attempt in 2005 to recreate the look and feel of the show with an adapted version, called Das geheime Leben der Spielerfrauen (The Secret Life of Footballers' Wives). The original scripts were rewritten to appeal to a German audience. The show failed terribly and was cancelled after only four episodes. The original show is currently shown on TIMM.

In Slovenia, Footballers' Wives is appearing on Kanal A as Žene nogometašev.

In Italy, Mediaset produced its own version of the series, Ho sposato un calciatore. It was axed after one series.

In June 2007, the show was being shown in Latin-America on the Fox Life channel.

The show is received in various parts of Asia (for example Singapore) on the BBC Entertainment cable channel.

In Canada, CBC Television launched MVP in early 2008. That show's creator acknowledged Footballers' Wives as an inspiration, but chose to create a similar series about ice hockey rather than directly adapting Footballers' Wives, as she felt that some elements of the original series — particularly the broad campiness of some British humour — would not translate well to a Canadian audience.

DVD releases

Series 1-5 have been released on DVD in the United Kingdom and Australia and Series 1-3 have been released on DVD in the United States.

All 5 series have now been re-released by Acorn Media. All DVDs feature brand new artwork. Acorn Media have now announced they are due to release a 'Complete Collection' box set featuring all 5 series and both series of Footballers Wives Extra Time.


Footballers' Wives Wikipedia