Viewers praise 'brave' Andy Woodward after watching harrowing drama Floodlights

The BBC drama tells the true story of the sports star's abuse at the hands of his former youth coach

BBC Two's new drama, Floodlights, aired on Wednesday evening and viewers have been quick to praise footballer Andy Woodward for his bravery in coming forward about the abuse he suffered as a teenager, with many labelling the 48-year-old a "hero".

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The one-off TV film, which stars Shameless star Gerard Kearns and The Bay's Jonas Armstrong, tells the harrowing story of the sports star's sexual abuse at the hands of his former youth coach Barry Bennell, who is now behind bars for his crimes.

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WATCH: Floodlights tells the powerful and inspiring story of Andy Woodward

After the hour-long drama aired one person wrote on Twitter: "Andy Woodward, brave doesn't do you justice #Floodlights." Another said: "34 years in prison is nowhere near enough for what Bennell did. Andy Woodward is a hero for speaking out and encouraging over 100 others to do so."

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Someone else called the feature-length film "compelling and altogether heartbreaking," while a fourth said: "The emotional pain that Andy Woodward went through is just unimaginable. What a brave man who opened up the pathway for so many more to come forward. If ever anyone deserved a knighthood, it's him."

The drama has prompted a huge reaction from viewers

The film, which is based on Andy's 2019 memoir titled A Position of Trust, has been made with the sports star's cooperation and chronicles how he was no longer able to ignore the haunting memories of the abuse he suffered during his teenage years.

Andy himself was involved in making the BBC drama

Andy first broke his silence over the matter in 2016, which prompted a string of other players to come forward and the FA to launch an official review. As it was later revealed, Bennell groomed multiple young players and subjected them to horrific abuse while promising their families that he could make their dreams come true.

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Opening up about seeing his life played out on-screen, Andy said in a statement released earlier this year: "Since speaking out in 2016, I wanted to continue to encourage people to talk without fear to make a change.

"Floodlights tells my story, which no child should ever have to go through. I hope this film helps to stop abuse in football and in all areas of life."

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