Clemency Burton-Hill The Guardian [Monday 17th April 2006]


   My spell with Harchester United


Nearly eight years have passed, but I can still remember the phone call as if it were yesterday. "They're offering you the part," my agent announced. I responded with a deafening squawk of delight.


I was 16 when I got the leading role of Georgina Jacobs, daughter of Harchester United's manager, in the first series of Sky One's flagship drama Dream Team, the axeing of which was announced last week. It was 1997, I had just finished my GCSEs, and this was my first proper acting job. Added to that, Dream Team had a major buzz. Although it's hard to imagine now, in 1997 the national obsession with football was in its infancy; Euro 1996, of Football's Coming Home fever, had been a year before. This was before Posh'n' Becks, before Wayne'n'Coleen, before - more to the point - Footballers' Wives. We had heroes and heartthrobs but nothing on the scale we know now.


Halfway through the first series, a bidding war ensued between two terrestrial channels to buy the rights. In the end, it stayed on Sky One, which was a shame simply because it paved the way for Footballers' Wives on ITV. All credit to the creators of that show, though: they nutmegged us, nabbed the ball and charged up the wing, sending it straight into the back of the net. Suddenly Dream Team was relegated to the first division.


Dodgy puns aside, Dream Team was a dream job. I'd had an Arsenal season-ticket since I was 11 and the idea of a show about the Premiership, with real footballers and real footage, was heaven to my tomboy soul. Sadly, the producer was a Spurs fan, so we never had Arsenal boys in as guest stars. Still, I had fun hanging out on set with the likes of Dennis Wise, my "boyfriend" for an episode.


We shot two episodes a week, over five days, with minuscule budgets, for 10 months of the year, so it was fast-paced. My character endured unrequited love, being caught on CCTV frolicking with the team's star striker, teenage pregnancy, father's heart attack, drug-addict boyfriend, miscarriage, and - finally - a suicide attempt. It was never confirmed if Georgina died from her overdose, and I still get the occasional fan letter asking if she's ever coming back to Harchester. I guess with the announcement that the show is to be relegated to that Vauxhall Conference in the sky, she never will. RIP!

Clemency Burton-Hill


- I’d say her closing the article with ‘RIP!’ was Clemency giving her view that she believed Georgina did die from her overdose - Andrew

Screencap from 1.31 (#31) [TX: 27/01/98] seen with Eva Pope.