Fash: ITV announce new drama telling story of brothers Justin and John Fashanu

ITV has announced brand new drama Fash to air on ITV1 and stream on ITVX.


The new series comes from playwright, writer and director Kwame Kwei-Armah (Elmina’s Kitchen, Breaking) and tells the story of brothers Justin and John Fashanu.

John Fashanu is closely involved in the drama, serving as consultant on the series alongside Peter Tatchell and a number of other contributors. The series will be produced by Happy Prince (part of ITV Studios).

A synopsis shares: “In 1981, at 20 years old, Justin Fashanu signs to Nottingham Forest, becoming the first black British footballer to be sold for £1 million, becoming one of the most celebrated men in British sport. In 1990, he is the first professional footballer to publicly come out as gay. In 1998, with his football career in tatters and ostracised by his family, Justin commits suicide.

“In 1981, Justin’s younger brother John signs to Norwich City, the same club at which his brother made his name. Over the next few years, as his younger brother’s star fades and life becomes mired by pitch-side rumour and front-page tabloid exposés, John supersedes Justin as the famous Fashanu. In 1998, when Justin dies, the two are wholly estranged.

“Fash is the unvarnished, unflinchingly honest and heart-breaking story of two young men each trapped in their own damaging and dangerous notions of masculinity that traverses back and forth across their eventful lives, from a childhood spent in Dr Barnado’s care homes in the care of a white foster family, when they had nobody to rely on but each other amid an overwhelmingly white community which always saw them as “other”, to their tragic and irreconcilable estrangement that played out across the national media.

“But Fash is more than simply a modern Cain and Abel tale. In this series Kwei-Armah skilfully, powerfully and resolutely exposes the toxic prejudices that ran to the heart of Britain at the time – both socially and institutionally – which catalysed the breakdown of these two brothers’ relationship, from the entrenched racism and homophobia ingrained in sport, and in football in particular, to the dangerously intrusive and relentless tabloid media which stoked such hate. In Fash, Kwei-Armah has crafted a potent and arresting drama that reveals not just a shameful moment in our national history where to be yourself was to condemn yourself, but also lays bare the continued pain, damage and torment that those self-same prejudices inflict on individuals in the sport to this day.”

John Fashanu said: “I’m so pleased to be working with Kwame and Happy Prince on this project. Much has been said and written about the relationship Justin and I shared over the years, but drama of this type has an ability to delve right to the beating heart and truth of events in a way other media can’t. I feel privileged to play a part in bringing it to the screen.”


Kwame Kwei-Armah added: “I grew up watching the Fashanu brothers. I was fascinated by them. Inspired by them. As an adult, my heart breaks for them. ‘The past is a foreign land’, the saying goes, ‘they do things differently there’. In Fash, I wanted to dive into that past, particularly one that has so many resonances with today.”

Fash will premiere on ITV1 and will be available as a boxset on ITVX once the first episode has aired

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