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PRODUCTION UK

BBC races ahead with Ovett and Coe

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BBC Films and AL Films are developing a film about the celebrated Olympic rivalry between middle-distance runners Steve Ovett and Sebastian Coe.

The pair famously clashed at the 1980 Moscow Olympics and the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. Honours were even with Coe winning the 1500 m gold and 800 m silver at both events. Ovett won the 800 m gold and 1500 m bronze in Moscow.

The film will be released prior to the London 2012 Olympics of which Coe is the chairman of the organising committee. Joanna Anderson and Vicky Licorish of AL Films, the producers responsible for BBC 1’s recent hit Small Island, have signed up LA-based British writer William Davies (Flushed Away [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, Johnny English [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
) to write the screenplay.

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Anderson said, “Will is a fantastic writer who is a keen sportsman. He has been fired up by this story which means so much to a UK audience and is the British Olympic story which also gripped the US.”

Licorish said, “You were either an Ovett person or a Coe person and that’s what makes it such a great character piece as well.”

AL Films optioned the acclaimed account of their rivalry The Perfect Distance by sports journalist Pat Butcher, who had unprecedented access to Coe and Ovett, as well as those closest to them.

Christine Langan, Creative Director BBC Films, said, “This is a gem of a story, about British sporting life and more. Will’s take on it is very exhilarating and BBC Films is excited to be developing it with him and AL Films.”

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