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The Bid

55 minutes
First broadcast:
Saturday 10 December 2011

After five years of planning and an 18 month campaign to win votes costing more than £15m, England's bid to host the 2018 World Cup ended in humiliation in front of millions of TV viewers around the world.

Exactly a year after Fifa President Sepp Blatter walked onto the stage at the Messe Centre in Zurich and revealed that Russia would be hosting the 2018 World Cup, this drama tells the behind-the-scenes story of what happened in Zurich in the days leading up to the announcement on 2 December 2010.

Focusing on the England bid team - which included David Cameron, Prince William and David Beckham - the drama is based on interviews with many of those who were there, and on published material, and uses actors to play all the key characters.

The England bid team arrived in Zurich with high hopes.

They were well organised, had a strong technical bid and their formal presentation to the Fifa voting executives went without a hitch - it was heartfelt, passionate and had the biggest A-list celebrities.

But behind England's super-confident presentation, a desperate struggle was taking place in hotel rooms and the corridors of Fifa's HQ in Zurich as England jostled with other countries, courting Fifa executive members, lobbying for votes and making deals.

This is a gripping story of hope, broken promises and disappointment - a compelling and entertaining insight into the business behind the game.

(Image: England footballers David Beckham (L) and Wayne Rooney (R) pose during a photocall to launch The England 2018/2022 World Cup. Credit: Getty Images)

  • The Cast, Writer and Director

    Andy Anson - Adrian Rawlins
    Geoff Thompson - Richard Ridings
    David Dein/Sepp Blatter - John Sessions
    David Beckham/Prince William - James Hurn
    David Cameron - Christopher Villiers
    Jack Warner - Larrington Walker
    Eddie Afekafe - Jermaine Liburd
    Chuck Blazer - Glenn Wrage
    Mohamed Bin Hamman - Nadim Sawalha
    Voiceover - Justine Greene
    Other parts - Dolya Gavanski and Tracy Ifeachor

    Writer: Matthew Solon

    Matthew is an award-winning writer whose work has regularly been heard on the BBC. His drama about the collapse of Lehman Brothers, The Day That Lehman Died won a coveted Peabody Award in the US as well as silver at the 2010 Sony Radio Awards. He also wrote Five Days In May, broadcast on the BBC last year, a dramatic reconstruction of the tense negotiations between the political parties after the last UK general election.

    John's dramas for BBC Radio include the Sony Award winning Q & A (Aka Slumdog Millionaire), Bleak House, Fatherland, A Suitable Boy, A Tokyo Murder, The Cairo Trilogy, The Day That Lehman Died, Five Days In May and Severed Threads.

    Director: John Dryden

  • BBC World Drama

    BBC World Drama

    A drama charting the collapse of one of the oldest and largest investment banks in the world, which sparked the beginnings of the global recession

    The Day That Lehman Died


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