Freeview film of the day: The Damned United

Michael Sheen channels Brian Clough in the true story of the outspoken manager's disastrous spell at Leeds United


The Damned United ★★★★ 
10.30pm-12 midnight BBC2


As a voracious devourer of the novels of Wakefield-born author David Peace, ripped from late 20th-century history and dense with rhythmic repetition, I was spoiled in 2009, with C4’s triumphant three-part dramatisation of his Yorkshire-set Red Riding quartet. This was followed by a more user-friendly adaptation of his partly imagined account of diffident manager Brian Clough’s 44-day tenure at Leeds Utd in 1974, of gleeful interest to anyone who loves the 70s. Future King’s Speech director Tom Hooper re-creates the hairy, fag-smoking, pre-Premier League days of English club football and Michael Sheen is typically pitch-perfect as the arrogant Clough as he takes on the club, the players, the fans and revered predecessor Don Revie (Colm Meaney). Writer Peter Morgan (The Crown) creates drama out of mundane detail and, with Hooper, mounts a stirring, tragicomic portrait of one of football’s greatest characters.


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