BBC iPlayer announces its first feature film, The Rack Pack

Luke Treadaway to star in Snooker film

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The BBC has commissioned The Rack Pack, its first BBC iPlayer comedy-drama feature film.

The comedy drama explores the glory days of the Seventies and Eighties snooker scene, when huge characters became household names and Snooker Loopy troubled the pop charts. The story tells of the rivalry between Alex ‘Hurricane’ Higgins (played by Luke Treadaway), whose natural talent and showmanship transformed the image of the traditional game and captivated audiences across the country, and Steve ‘The Nugget’ Davis (Will Merrick) who under the guidance of manager Barry Hearn (Kevin Bishop) dominated the sport throughout the Eighties and ushered in a new era of professionalism. Nichola Burley plays Alex’s wife, Lynn Higgins, and James Bailey takes on the role of the greatest player never to be World Champion, Jimmy White.

This year is the 30th anniversary of the 1985 world snooker final, which was broadcast on the BBC in the early hours of a Monday morning and watched by 18.5 million people in the UK; a record for a post-midnight audience for any channel in the country.

Shane Allen, Controller of Comedy Commissioning, says: “BBC iPlayer offers a unique creative space for comedy of all shapes, sizes, tones and ambition – free of the traditional parameters of TV slots. Higgins was to snooker what George Best was to football – a Northern Irish folk hero whose mesmerising talent made for a fascinating world-class champion on the snooker table, but his explosive personality made for a troubled life off the table. Our cast are perfect to do this vibrant story and era justice.”

Peter Holmes, Managing Director of Zeppotron, says: “This commission marks an exciting new step for Zeppotron as we produce our first ever feature film. For me, this is the true definition of a ‘passion project’. I am a huge fan of snooker and this golden era of the sport is in my blood. If you only watch one film featuring Big Bill Werbeniuk this year, make sure it’s this one.”

The Rack Pack is written by the team behind A Young Doctor’s Notebook: Shaun Pye, Mark Chappell and Alan Connor; Produced by Zeppotron, and will be released exclusively on BBC iPlayer in early December.