Floodlights: What happened to Barry Bennell after abusing Andy Woodward?

by 24britishtvMay 17, 2022, 10 p.m. 14

BBC drama Floodlights tells the story of former footballer Andy Woodward (played by Gerard Kearns) who was sexually abused by youth coach Barry Bennell (Jonas Armstrong).

The feature-length film, made with Andy’s co-operation, will tell how in 2016 the sports star revealed he had been abused while playing at Crewe, prompting a string of other players to come forward and the FA to launch a review.

In February 2018, Barry, who had been convicted of 50 child sex offences at the time, was sentenced to 31 years in prison in Britain for repeatedly abusing 12 boys aged eight to 15 between 1979 and 1991, with a judge describing him as ‘the devil incarnate’.

In 2020, Barry pleaded guilty to nine more sexual offences, admitting three counts of buggery and six counts of indecent assault in relation to two complainants between 1979 and 1988.

The victims were aged between 11 and 14 at the time.

In December 2021, he denied being a Manchester City scout in the 1980s after eight men who alleged they had been abused by him made damages claims against the club. But the judge ruled against the men, saying that the club could not be held responsible for Barry’s abuse.

In 1995, Barry had been convicted in the United States of sexually abusing a 13-year-old British boy on a tour, and was sentenced to a further four years.

The 68-year-old is serving a 34-year jail term at HMP Littlehey in Cambridgeshire, after being convicted of more than 50 sexual offences against 22 boys.

Having originally been interested in playing Andy, Jonas said that when he was first propositioned about playing Barry, he thought: ‘I don’t want to do that.’

‘I had a good discussion with my agent and then I decided yeah, I’m going to go for this, because of the fact that this is an extraordinary piece and it’s to raise awareness for people who might still be suffering and the piece is that strong,’ he said in an interview with Victoria Derbyshire.

‘I kind of had to take myself back and put the project forward before myself as a performer, as an actor, if that makes sense. I thought, without sounding cliché, but this story needs to be told, and if I can help facilitate that in any way shape or form, I’m all for it.’

When Victoria pushed Jonas further on why he originally didn’t want to accept the part, he explained: ‘Because it kind of made me feel a bit sick, having to play some of these scenes out.’

He continued: ‘Also, as well, getting into the mind of somebody that’s capable of doing that. It’s not a pleasant… it wasn’t a pleasant place to be. So that was why I had that initial response.’

Floodlights airs tonight (Tuesday May 17) on BBC Two at 9pm.

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MORE : Floodlights: Who is in the cast of BBC Andy Woodward drama?

MORE : Jonas Armstrong ‘felt sick’ to play paedophile football coach Barry Bennell in BBC sexual abuse drama Floodlights


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