Screenwriter Jimmy McGovern gets his freedom from Liverpool

Award-winning screenwriter Jimmy McGovern has received the Freedom of Liverpool.

r McGovern, who was born into a large Catholic working class family in Liverpool in 1949, had described it as one of the “most extraordinary and fascinating things that has ever happened to me” when the award was announced late last year.

The lifelong Liverpool FC fan, who was recognized for his 40-year contribution to British television, film and theatre, said it was “really humbling” to be nominated alongside Andrew Devine, the 97th victim of the Hillsborough football disaster in 1989 to be July 2021 as a result of the life-changing injuries he sustained.

Mr McGovern, whose film credits include Brookside, Cracker, Hillsborough, The Lakes, Moving On, The Street, Anthony and the recent BBC prison drama Time, received his award at a ceremony at Liverpool Town Hall.

A video message from Sir Kenny Dalglish, Liverpool’s manager at the time of the Hillsborough tragedy, told him: “You have been an absolute credit to your profession, to your family and to the Hillsborough families in particular”.

Sir Kenny said: “It (Liverpool) is a city that you hold dear and have served superbly over the years. Not only in your daily work, but above all for the people involved in Hillsborough.

“The way you have looked after them, the time and effort you have given them, the comfort you have given them has been absolutely fantastic.”

Mr McGovern’s wide-ranging career as a writer, co-writer and producer also includes the 1982 launch of the Channel 4 soap Brookside, the 1994 film Priest and the 2007 slavery play King Cotton, which was commissioned for Liverpool was given year as European Capital of Culture.

He has been cited for putting the pursuit of truth and justice at the center of his writing, most famously 25 years ago in the 1996 docu-drama Hillsborough.

The program explored the background and aftermath of Britain’s worst footballing tragedy, which left 97 people unjustly dead in the 1989 FA Cup semi-final.

The Bafta-winning drama is heralded as a catalyst in the victims’ families’ fight to successfully reverse the findings of the original investigation.

The freedom ceremony came to an emotional climax with the performance of Liverpool FC’s anthem, You’ll Never Walk Alone.


Jimmy McGovern at a hearing at Preston Crown Court with Jenni Hicks, whose two daughters died in Hillsborough. (Peter Byrne/PA)

Stephen Graham, who starred in the drama Time, later described Mr McGovern as “just gorgeous” and “such an inspiration”.

In a tribute posted online after the ceremony, he said: “I want to say what an honor it is to be one of the people who get to speak your words and these characters you have created. Being able to play one of these is a gift for me.

“All I ever wanted to do was be in a Jimmy McGovern play and I got there.

“I am very, very grateful. Keep smashing it. Stay brilliant.”

Mr Devine, 55, had suffered life-changing injuries in the Hillsborough crowd.

The other 96 victims received the award posthumously in 2016.

Mr McGovern, who was a bus conductor and English teacher, was also recognized for generating tens of millions of pounds for the film industry in Liverpool and the North West of England.

His honors include four Baftas, two Edgars, two International Emmys and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Royal Television Society.

https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/screenwriter-jimmy-mcgovern-receives-the-freedom-of-liverpool-41466323.html Screenwriter Jimmy McGovern gets his freedom from Liverpool

Fry Electronics Team

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