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Filming of 'Anne' in Formby today - new Hillsborough drama about the inspirational Anne Will

Filming has taken place today in Formby for the new ITV drama about the Hillsborough disaster. The four part drama series will be called 'Anne' after inspirational Anne Williams, who was from Formby.

ITV commissioned the factual drama, from award-winning programme makers World Productions (the makers of Bodyguard and Line of Duty).

Anne, from Formby was devastated by the loss of her son, 15-year-old Kevin, who was tragically killed at the FA Cup semi-final in 1989 between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest. Anne stood defiantly alongside other parents and their families who fought for justice for the 96 loved ones who lost their lives at a football match.

Determined to unearth the truth about Hillsborough, Anne Williams refused to believe the official line on how the disaster unfolded, seeking new medical opinion, tracking down witnesses whose statements were altered, and leaving no stone unturned in her fight for truth and justice.

Anne Williams was from Formby

Maxine Peake will play the lead role of Anne Williams. Maxine said: “Anne Williams was an extraordinary woman who spent half her life campaigning for the truth of her son’s death and the other 95 victims who were unlawfully killed at Hillsborough."

“Anne and her family’s story really is inspirational. She was a magnificent role model. Her fearlessness and drive to take on the British Establishment is mind blowing. I hope we can go some way to bringing the story of Anne, the families, victims and survivors of Hillsborough to an even wider audience.”

Maxine Peake

Maxine Peake is an English stage, radio, film and television actress, who made her name as Twinkle in Victoria Wood's sitcom Dinnerladies. She has since played Veronica in Channel 4's Manchester-based drama series Shameless, barrister Martha Costello in the BBC legal drama Silk.

Stephen Walters

Stephen Walters (Little Boy Blue, Shetland) will play her husband, Steve Williams. Stephen Walters is an English actor. A regular in British television and film, he has played a wide range and variety of character roles in both drama and comedy. Walters is most commonly associated with unpredictable, complex figures.

Anne was commissioned by ITV’s head of drama, Polly Hill and will be produced by Julia Stannard (Vanity Fair, War & Peace, Great Train Robbery).

Polly Hill said: “This drama is dedicated to Anne Williams and her diligent and tireless 23-year campaign to learn how and when her son died. She was an inspiration and I’m proud that we can depict her story."

“The series has been developed with the support of Anne’s daughter, Sara, who was aged 9 when her brother died. Sara has carried on her Mum’s work and has assisted Kevin Sampson in the writing process.”

The four-part mini-series (4 x 60minutes) is written by Kevin Sampson, author of the book Hillsborough Voices, which depicts the tragic events of the day, and what unfolded in the hours, days and years after the disaster. Sampson was at the 1989 semi-final as a fan, and interviewed Anne Williams for Hillsborough Voices. Sampson wrote the 4-part mini series, having already penned Hillsborough Voices, which depicted the tragic events of the day, and what unfolded in the days and years after the disaster.

Kevin said: “From the first time I spoke to Anne, I was struck by her steely determination. Nothing and nobody was going to deter her from her ultimate aim – justice for Kevin and the 95 who died with him at Hillsborough. Anne’s is a story of a mother’s love being stronger than any opponent or obstacle. She refused to lie down, and it’s an honour that her family has entrusted us with telling her inspirational story."

Anne Williams’ daughter Sara has been involved in the production process and said: “This is something I have thought very carefully about before deciding to go ahead. Mum’s story is such a powerful and inspiring one, and we all remember how important she always felt it was to get the message out there and bang the drum for justice."

"There have been a number of expressions of interest in dramatising her story over the last four years but the key factor here is the involvement of people who I know personally, and who also have a deep understanding of Hillsborough, our story and all the elements around that."

“I am excited, as well as a little bit scared, but I just feel it is the right thing to do and am looking forward to working alongside talented people who I know will give everything to ensure we produce a series that does justice to my mum, our Kev, the 96 and everyone involved.”

The drama will be directed by BAFTA-winner, Bruce Goodison (Murdered by my Father, Born to Kill, Home Fires).

CEO of World Productions and Creative Director Simon Heath will executive produce the drama.

Commented Simon Heath: “We are honoured to be given the opportunity to bring to the screen Anne’s extraordinary and inspiring story of a mother’s quest for justice.”

Photo by Emma Hobbs of filming at Formby High School

Film vehicles parked at Warren Farm in Formby

- Anne Williams -

“I will never give up my fight for justice. I will never fail my son. The system has failed him, and I cannot forgive those who allowed that to happen.” - Anne Williams

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