Ian Wright: Home Truths: what is the BBC documentary on the former footballer about - and when is it on TV?

Wright shares memories of growing up with an abusive step-father and the impact it had on him, his mother and his older brother

Wright will share experiences from his abusive upbringing in a documentary about domestic abuse, for the BBC (Picture: BBC)

Former footballer Ian Wright will present an hour-long documentary about his experiences of domestic abuse, which airs on BBC one on 6 May.

Best known for his Match of the Day appearances and football commentary, Wright will share personal stories of his childhood in this one-off show.

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So, what is Ian Wright: Home Truths about, what has he said about his experience of domestic abuse and when is the documentary on TV? This is what you need to know.

Who is Ian Wright?

Ian Edward Wright is a 57-year-old football commentator and former player, who grew up in Woolwich.

He is best remembered for his time at Crystal Palace and Arsenal, though he also had stints as a striker for West Ham United and Celtic.

Wright was brought up with his two older brothers by his mother, Nesta, and step-father. The family of five lived in a one-bedroom home in South-East London.

Wright has eight children, four sons and four daughters. He adopted his first child in 1985, Shaun who was born in 1981, the birth-son of his then girlfriend, Sharon Phillips.

Phillips and Wright then welcomed their second son, Bradley in 1985.

He became a professional footballer in 1985, signing with Crystal Palace at 22 years old.

Phillips and Wright split and he went on to have sons Brett and Stacey, and daughter Bobbi-Lee with his first wife, Debbie. The pair then divorced.

Wright welcomed a second daughter, Coco, in 2004 before marrying his second wife Nancy Hallam in 2011, with whom he has daughters, Lola and Roxanne.

He played football professionally for 15 years, from 1985 to 2000, and shortly after retiring he was awarded an MBE.

He is currently a commentator for BBC Sport and ITV Sport.

What has he said about his childhood?

Wright has previously spoken about his childhood and the abuse he witnessed, notably on an episode of BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, which aired in December 2020.

He has told how his father was not around from a young age and he was raised by his mother and stepfather.

Wright said his stepfather was abusive and would beat his mother, who would then take it out on her sons.

The 57-year-old reflected on his school years, stating his teacher Sydney Pigden was "the first positive male figure that I had in my life."

What is Ian Wright: Home Truths about?

The moving documentary will offer an insight into Wright’s harrowing early experiences of domestic and emotional abuse.

It follows Wright and his older brother Maurice, as they return to their childhood home in Brockley, and relive their memories of the abuse they experienced as children.

Viewers will watch as the brothers talk about how Maurice would cup his hands over Ian’s ears to drown out the sounds of their mother’s beatings, but he could still hear her plead for her husband to stop.

Ian will also tell how he was forced to face a wall while his stepfather watched Match of the Day, and that he would be screamed at if he turned around. He says his stepfather only behaved this way because “he knew he could”.

Ian adds: “To hear the Match of the Day music and know you can’t watch it – it was torture. So unnecessary, just cruel.” The brothers reflect on their time at home, with Ian concluding “There is no love here”.

Ian Wright also speaks with other victims of domestic abuse and finds out more about the charitable support offered to those who reach out for help.

In the programme he also explores the impact of domestic and emotional abuse on victims, with expert insight from Dr Nuri Gené-Cos, a consultant psychiatrist.

Where can I watch Ian Wright: Home Truths?

The documentary will air on BBC One at 9pm on 6 May. You can also watch it on demand on the BBC iPlayer.

How can I get support if I or someone I know experiences domestic abuse?

In the UK, Women’s Aid offers residential and emotional support for anyone experiencing domestic abuse.

The National Domestic Abuse helpline, run by Refuge, also offers 24-hour online and telephone support.

If you are in immediate danger, please contact Police on 999.