Downton Abbey creator, writer and executive producer Julian Fellowes has teamed up with Netflix for a new series called The English Game, which dramatises the foundation of modern football as we know it.
In his new drama series, Fellowes delves into how the game “reached across the class divide” and how it ignited the passion of so many, showing how footballers became famous in their own right.
Goal brings you everything you need to know about The English Game, such as release date, who stars in it, where it was shot and how to watch.
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- What is The English Game about?
- When is The English Game released?
- Who is in the cast of The English Game?
- Where was The English Game filmed?
- The English Game trailer
- How can I watch The English Game?
- What sort of reviews has The English Game got?
The English Game is a new drama mini-series helmed by Downton Abbey creator Fellowes, which will explore the origins of football and tracing its roots back to northern England in the mid-1800s.
It is a six-part series covering the genesis of the sport and how those involved in its beginnings reached across different social classes, turning the game into the world's most beloved.
It covers the clash of Eton College students – who had popularised a form of football – and factory workers, who had formed professional clubs as factory teams in industrial towns.
“There’s this extraordinary anomaly that football, originally devised by public schoolboys at Eton, to be played by their own rules, becomes this game that dominates the world," Fellowes told i News.
“As the game spread, it becomes less tenable that the Etonians could reserve football for themselves.
“The clubs that rise in the industrial Midlands and the North become the true representatives of the game.”
Fellowes himself is “not madly sporty”, but was inspired to explore the subject of football through his son.
“I took him to East Ham or West Ham to see their home fight with Manchester United. It was extraordinary to see something done so superbly, such a masterful demonstration of the craft," he said.
“The game has become divorced from its roots and something has become lost along the way.
"But I still think football is a force for good.”
The English Game was released on Friday March 20, 2020, on Netflix. All six episodes of the series are available to watch from the release date.
|Edward Holcroft||Arthur Kinnaird|
|Kevin Guthrie||Fergus Suter|
|Niamh Walsh||Martha Almond|
|Charlotte Hope||Margaret Alma Kinnaird|
|Daniel Ings||Francis Marindin|
|James Harkness||Jimmy Love|
|Gerard Kearns||Tommy Marshall|
|Henry Lloyd Hughes|
|Kate Phillips||Laura Lyttleton|
|Joncie Elmore||Ted Stokes|
|Craig Parkinson||James Walsh|
The Kingsman's Edward Holcroft, Kevin Guthrie, Charlotte Hope and Craig Parkinson were among the first names announced for the billing of the new series.
James Harkness (The Victim), Niamh Walsh (Jamestown), Gerard Kearns (Shameless), Daniel Ings (The Crown), Henry Lloyd Hughes (The Inbetweeners), Kate Phillips (Peaky Blinders) and Joncie Elmore (Downton Abbey) will also take part.
It is directed by The Spanish Princess' Birgitte Staermose and Happy Valley's Tim Fywell, while Traitors' Rhonda Smith produced it. Rory Aitken, Eleanor Moran and Ben Pugh are executive producers of the series.
A number of different locations across England were used for the filming of The English Game. Shooting and production for the series began in the spring of 2019.
One of the main locations for filming was the model village of Saltaire, a UNESCO World Heritage site in West Yorkshire, which is intended to represent the town of Darwen in Lancashire.
Other Yorkshire locations used in The English Game include the Little Germany Quarter of Bradford, Bradford's City Hall and the city's famous Salt Mill.
West Yorkshire's Keighley Station and Worth Valley Railway Heritage Station were also used.
Some scenes were also shot in locations in the north-west of England, such as Altrincham, while Smithills Hall - a manor house in Greater Manchester - was also used.
The Manchester Evening News reported that a number of scenes were shot in Bolton, where the home of West Lancashire League club Stoneclough was turned into a Victorian style stadium.
The official Netlfix trailer for The English Game was released on March 5 and can be watched in the video above.
You will need a Netlix account to watch The English Game. The link to watch the series is here.
In order to set up an account, go to www.netlix.com and follow the instructions or do so via the app.
In the UK, monthly Netlix subscription prices range from £5.99 (basic) to £8.99 (standard) to £11.99 (premium).
In the U.S., a monthly Netflix subscription will cost from $8.99 (basic) to $12.99 (standard) to $15.99 (premium.
|Outlet||Review / Rating|
*IMDb & Rotten Tomatoes ratings subject to change
The English Game received mixed reviews on its release, with some critics hailing it as welcome reprieve during the coronavirus-enforced football blackout, while others were much more harsh.
The Telegraph celebrated the series as a "winning drama" and gave it four stars out of five. The Guardian, on the other hand, was scathing in its assessment of the series, describing it as "an own goal" and giving it a withering one-star rating.
Radio Times, meanwhile, struck a middle ground by suggesting that Fellowes "might have scored a winner", handing the "watchable" show three stars out of five. The Metro also gave it three out of five stars, describing it as a "good period drama" and a "pleasant surprise".