The Search for Shankly is Over


Acclaimed Scottish actor Jonathan Watson is to fill the boots of the legendary Bill Shankly in a play based on his final days as manager of Liverpool FC.

The 51-year-old was unveiled at Anfield by the producers of The Shankly Show, which has been commissioned as part of Liverpool’s European Capital of Culture celebrations.

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Jonathan, whose career has spanned theatre, TV, radio and film, was chosen after a series of auditions last month. A graduate of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and currently fronts his own sketch show for BBC Radio Scotland, Jonathan said he was humbled to be chosen.

He added: “As a Scot, and a fan of football, I am really looking forward to the challenge of playing the part of Shankly – a man whose influence, character, and determination touched not just a football club, but a city as well. I am very proud to be a part of The Shankly Show.”

Andrew Sherlock, writer of The Shankly Show, said: ‘’As soon as Jonathan uttered the first lines it was like an electric shock – you would swear Shankly himself was in the room. The auditions threw up some great actors and we had a typical manager’s selection headache – but Jonathan has was closest to the look and feel of Shankly. He will bring that bit of magic that the great man was famous for.’’

The Shankly Show is a brand new production in two acts, 45 minutes each way – the first in black and white, the second in colour.

It is one of 14 Liverpool Commissions by the Liverpool Culture Company and is set to be one of the theatrical highlights of Liverpool’s year as European Capital of Culture.

The play receives its gala premiere on Thursday, 24 April at the Liverpool Olympia and has been created with the support of Liverpool FC, fans and Granada TV.

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