In one off documentary When Football Banned Women, airing on Tuesday 18 July at 10.00pm on Channel 4, Clare Balding uncovers the remarkable hidden history of women’s football.
A hundred years ago, the women’s game dominated the headlines and attracted crowds of up to 60,000. The star players everyone wanted to see were teenage striker Lily Parr and her teammate Alice Woods, and the most popular team in England was Dick, Kerr’s Ladies. Clare reveals how women’s football teams grew out of munitions factories during World War I where women had replaced men sent into battle. The Dick, Kerr Locomotive Factory in Preston was repurposed to make shells for the front line, and it was here that the Dick, Kerr’s Ladies football team was formed. They became the most famous team of the time.
Featuring rare archive footage and personal testimony, this revealing documentary details how women’s football matches attracted thousands of paying fans raising much needed charity funds for post-war Britain and its wounded soldiers and their families. It also uncovers an untold chapter in the fight for equality waged at a time when women ruled the pitch.
In 1921 the Football Association banned women from playing professional matches and using its grounds. As England and Scotland’s finest women players prepare to go head to head in Euro 2017 (live on Channel 4 wednesday), Clare attempts to uncover the possible reasons behind the ban, which remained in place for 50 years, and asks what lasting damage it might have caused the women’s game.
Producer and Director: Kelly Close
Executive Producers: Ollie Tait, Emma Wakefield
Production Company: Lambent Productions
When Football Banned Women airs Tuesday 18 July 2017 from 10.00pm-11.05pm on Channel 4