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29 October 2014
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13.12.02

FACTUAL & ARTS TV


On The Run - BBC TWO, 7 January 2003, 9.00pm


Gerry McGowan had just signed a professional football contract to play with Gary Lineker when his world collapsed.


While visiting his native Belfast, he found himself wrongfully arrested for the murder of a British soldier. Fearing an unfair trial, he jumped bail.


After 20 years he was ruled an innocent man, but by that time he had lost the prime of his life, his career and his mother, who died while he was in hiding.


This BBC TWO documentary retraces the physical and emotional impact of Gerry's life on the run.


Gerry relives his first night as a fugitive and talks openly of the constant fear of being hunted down, living under false identities.


Gerry said: "I was not going to spend one day in prison for something I had absolutely nothing to do with. Whoever pulled the trigger in Derry killed my career as sure as they killed that British soldier."


The story begins on a training ground in Leicester in 1979. Gerry McGowan, then aged 17, and a team mate of the young Gary Lineker, had just signed a contract as a professional footballer for Leicester City and had the soccer world at his feet.


On The Run takes Gerry back to the training ground in Leicester where he recalls his joy at being signed but reveals how, as an Irishman living in the UK, it was a difficult time.


He takes the viewer to the places that mattered to him and gives an insight into his life at the time.


He then faces another trip down memory lane - this time to the Creggan Estate in Northern Ireland, the place where McGowan grew up.


Here Gerry explains how he returned to Belfast for a visit soon after signing for Leicester and how he was forced to put his signature to a confession that he had taken part in the killing of a British soldier.


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