TV Pick of the Week: Beckham - review by Yvette Huddleston
Directed by Hollywood actor and award-winning documentary filmmaker Fisher Stevens, this four-part foray into the world of David Beckham offers up a fascinating portrait of one of the world’s most famous footballers.
The former Manchester United player and England captain opens up about his career in a series of fascinating conversations with Stevens covering his obvious, continuing love of the beautiful game and how it shaped him from childhood. He also speaks candidly about his personal and family life.
Chronologically the series follows Beckham’s time at United, his move to Real Madrid, then LA Galaxy, his loan to AC Milan and his final move to Paris St Germain, where his playing career came to an end in 2013. He speaks about his relationship with Sir Alex Ferguson who first signed him to Manchester United as a teenager and who was a father figure to him and how their close bond eventually broke down. We hear from Beckham’s parents who fill in the detail on their son’s early life and how his obsession with football began at a very young age, from fellow players including Gary Neville, Eric Cantona and Rio Ferdinand and from Ferguson himself.
Beckham speaks about his first meeting with Victoria Adams, then a member of the Spice Girls, how they became ‘Posh and Becks’ with their romance conducted in the full glare of international publicity and the pressures of living with that constant media attention. Neither deny that there have been ups and downs in their marriage, as with any relationship, but they seem pretty solid, and well-matched, as a couple.
While it’s respectful and uncontroversial, this is no hagiography. Questionable decisions are discussed, Victoria doesn’t hold back on giving her opinion on those she disagreed with and there are some interesting edits – “it didn’t change me” says Beckham of the fame and fortune he amassed while still at Manchester United, cuts to Ferguson declaring “it totally changed him”.
It explores the low points – his sending off during England’s 1998 World Cup match against Argentina which resulted in sustained abuse being hurled at him and his family – and the many triumphs; there is, pleasingly, plenty of archive footage of some of those amazing goals.
Beckham speaks often of his love for his wife and family and their central importance in everything he has ever done. And it is, touchingly, abundantly clear that his four children are a source of immense pride for him.