The Telegraph's Critic's Choice: United

BBC Two, 9.00pm
Dramas about sport are often disappointing affairs: lacking in proper detail, hammily acted, and with a deathly predictable narrative arc in which a troubled team overcomes the odds to win the cup/medal/race in a shower of ticker tape glory. Once in a while, though, a real contender comes along which manages to leave the clichés behind and capture the essence of a sport – hard graft, beauty, tragedy and all. United, written by Chris Chibnall, is just such a film.
It tells the story of the young, seemingly unstoppable Manchester United team of the late 1950s – known as the “Busby Babes” after the club’s then manager, Matt Busby – eight of whom were killed in a horrific air crash in Munich in February 1958. This is hardly unfamiliar territory, but Chibnall has approached it from a brilliant new angle. His innovation is to frame the story around Bobby Charlton (Jack O’Connell), who made the first team in 1956, emerged from the crash alive, and returned to the trauma-stricken club less than a month later, where he helped them reach that year’s FA Cup Final.

Alongside O’Connell, David Tennant gives a sparkling performance as the club’s fatherly head coach, Jimmy Murphy. PN

Source: The Telegraph