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Rio Ferdinand: Being Mum and Dad

  • Documentary and factual


Former footballer Rio Ferdinand lost his 34-year-old wife Rebecca to cancer in May 2015, and he is still coming to terms with his loss, and the effect it has had upon himself and his three children. Rio meets other families coping with bereavement, and looks at what help is available for parents and children who have experienced loss to move on with their lives



This won a Bafta for best single doc of 2017, beating Chris Packham’s remarkable Asperger’s film in the process.

Footballer Rio Ferdinand’s wife Rebecca was first treated for breast cancer in 2013. The cancer returned in a more aggressive form in 2015 and she died ten weeks later at the age of 34.

Ferdinand opens up here with piercing honesty about the effect on his family, including his own near-suicidal thoughts: “I can see how you sink into a mad place where you think, ‘D’you know what? Forget this.’ But I’ve been lucky.”

As we see him talk to other widowed dads and bereavement experts, Ferdinand bares his soul to an amazing degree. He cries; he agonises about how best to help his three children cope; he confesses to throwing himself into work because “I don’t sit and dwell”. And he wonders above all whether he has really given himself and his kids the chance to process what happened.

It makes for a film that is clearly therapeutic for him and full of practical wisdom for the rest of us about the complexities of grief.

How to watch




PresenterRio Ferdinand
DirectorMatt Smith
Executive producerGrant Best
EditorMartin Thompson
ProducerJessica Winteringham



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