Clare Balding set to write screenplay based on a Preston ladies’ football team

Dick, Kerr Ladies
Dick, Kerr Ladies
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The story of a ladies’ football team, founded in Preston during the First World War, could be set for the screen thanks to a popular TV personality.

Clare Balding is set to write a screenplay based on the story of Preston’s Dick, Kerr Ladies Football Team.

Clare Balding

Clare Balding

Set up to raise money for injured soldiers, the trailblazing team was immortalised in a book called In a League of Their Own.

Now author Gail Newsham, from Preston, has met with Clare Balding to discuss the star’s ideas for the screenplay.

Gail unearthed new information and records set by the pioneering women, and this year updated and republished the book, which is now hoped to be turned into a screen drama, possibly a TV drama.

She said: “I first met her when she came up to Preston to do a book signing in 2012.

“The year before, I had done a piece with Radio 4 called Sport and the British, and Clare was the presenter.

“I never met her, I just did my recording.”

At the book signing, Gail also took a copy of In a League of Their Own, and said Clare knew who she was. She said many people had wanted to write a screenplay of the story, but said: “I feel now that Clare Balding is interested in it, and she really is keen, this is going to be the best chance to get it done because she believes in it.

“I believe the Dick, Kerr ladies chose me to tell their story because they knew I would look after them.

“I’ve not just written a book, I’ve cared for the women, they’ve been part of my family, I’ve been to their funeral.

“They have been part of my life for 20 years, I love them all, even the ones I haven’t met.”

Gail, who now lives in Bamber Bridge, researched the team before the help of the internet, and published the first version of the book in 1994.

She said: “I’m thrilled. If I could choose anybody in the whole world to tell this story it would be Clare Balding.

“Sport is in her blood and she campaigns for women’s equality in sport. Listening to her enthusing about the Dick, Kerr ladies, it’s second only to me. I went to London to discuss her doing this project.”

No details have been finalised about the screenplay yet, but it was likely to be a television drama.