When it comes to upsetting Manchester United, the BBC are in a league of their own. Not content with alienating Sir Alex Ferguson, the broadcaster is now under fire over their portrayal of the Reds other famous managerial Knight, Sir Matt Busby.
The son of United legend Sir Matt has strongly criticised a television drama about the Munich air disaster, which BBC2 made the showpiece drama of their Easter weekend.
Sandy Busby said he was “disgusted” with the portrayal of his father, who was seriously injured in the crash.
A BBC spokesman has responded with the defence that the film – screened on easter Sunday – was “a drama not a documentary”.
The drama focuses on Manchester United coach Jimmy Murphy, played by David Tennant, and how he rebuilt the team while Sir Matt, played by Dougray Scott, recovered from his life-threatening injuries.
Sandy Busby said: “I can’t understand it, it’s called United, all about the Busby Babes. You think they’d contact the Busby family wouldn’t you?
“I was disgusted with the portrayal of my father. He had this camel coat on, and a fedora, and all through the film he was never seen in a tracksuit. He was known as probably the first tracksuit manager at that time. I was disgusted.”
He said there were some terrible “stupid accusations” in the 90-minute film, and some omissions. “Why didn’t they include other players that died and were injured in the crash? If I was one of their family I would be very upset.
“There was about eight players never mentioned. They never mentioned Tom Curry, who was a trainer at the time. He was the trainer in the dressing room, he was like a second dad to the lads.”
I interviewed Sandy Busby when I produced my documentary ‘Old Trafford 100 Years’ for MUTV last year and I find it inconceivable that the BBC can be so stupid not to consult with anyone from the Busby family in the making of this film, especially someone who has such a vivid recollection and personal link to the whole Munich tragedy.
A BBC spokesman said: “It was a dramatic choice to focus on the stories of Jimmy Murphy and Bobby Charlton but the same story could have been told in many ways as all are equally important. The film was researched using biographies, testimonies, documentaries, personal accounts, first-hand interviews and Manchester United FC Museum.”
Sir Alex Ferguson fell out with the BBC over a 2004 documentary called Father and Son. The programme portrayed Ferguson’s agent son, Jason, as somebody who exploited his father’s influence and position to his own ends in the transfer market. Ferguson jnr was never found guilty of any wrongdoing. Sir Alex pledged not to speak to the BBC again, described the national broadcaster as “arrogant beyond belief” with an “inability to apologise” and says they do not care about being sued “because they are so huge and have insurance.”
(Update: Sir Alex ended his seven-year boycott of the BBC in August 2011)