Thursday 17 Apr 2014
Alastair Campbell celebrates Burnley's promotion to football's Premier League with a one-off documentary.
Burnley Are Back!, to be broadcast on Friday 14 August on BBC One North West, captures the excitement as the club returns to the elite for the first time in 33 years.
It also examines the close bonds between the team, the town and its people.
For Campbell, it's a labour of love. Tony Blair's former spin doctor has been a Burnley fan since he was a boy and is in footballing heaven interviewing heroes past and present.
But it's not all football. Campbell gets a lesson from a butcher in how to make a Burnley FC sausage and also ponders an offer to have his first ever tattoo, in the shape of the club badge.
Campbell is a guest at the wedding of Burnley Chairman Barry Kilby and his partner Sonia, and asks them an impossible question: which is most important, the Wembley play-off victory, the wedding day or Premiership football at Turf Moor?
In the town's market place he discovers a new mood of excitement as traders and shoppers give their views on the impact of promotion.
A place in the Premiership is worth an estimated £60million to the club but, for Burnley and its people, it is absolutely priceless.
Alastair Campbell said: "I was delighted to be asked to make this film for the BBC – not just about the promotion but what it means to a town that has had its fair share of problems and challenges.
"We got fantastic access from the club, and you do not have to spend long going around town to feel the buzz."
The programme features classic archive from Burnley's glory days and Campbell explains his own passion for the team he's followed since the early Sixties.
"I have followed Burnley for almost 50 years – from the very top as reigning League champions when I first saw them, to the very bottom when we had to beat Orient to stay in the League," he says.
"Since then there have been times when I doubted we would ever get back to the top flight. To have done so was close to miraculous.
"There were so many great moments last season which more than make up for all the bad times. Indeed it is partly those bad times that make these good times feel so good."
Among the contributors are Burnley legends Jimmy McIlroy, Martin Dobson and Paul Fletcher plus fellow fan, BBC presenter and Clarets fanatic Tony Livesey.
Chairman Barry Kilby talks about the battle to get the club back to the top flight, while manager Owen Coyle and Wembley goal-hero Wade Elliott talk about the devotion and adulation they get on a daily basis from Clarets fans.
And he also meets the fans themselves, including one who changed his name by deed-poll to Dave Burnley, as they travel en masse for a pre-season friendly at Bradford City.
Burnley Are Back! will be broadcast on BBC One in the North West of England on Friday 14 August 2009 at 7.30pm.
There is a network overnight repeat on Saturday 15 August at 3.50am on BBC Two.
Burnley are Back! is a Northstar TV production for the BBC.
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