Nick Hancock says he is “appalled” at himself after the former Manchester United player Luke Chadwick opened up on the torment the broadcaster’s TV show caused him. Hancock was speaking as a former host of the BBC panel show They Think It’s All Over, which Chadwick has said he used to “dread”.
The show would make fun of Chadwick’s appearance as he was breaking through at United and, 20 years on, the now 39-year-old has spoken about the effect the mocking had on him. “In the end it lowers your self-esteem a lot,” he told the BBC. “That’s all I’m known for and spoken about – the way I looked. That isn’t right.”
A two-times Premier League winner with Manchester United, Chadwick added of the show: “I became a picture of fun, and that was probably the hardest thing. A popular TV show – [the attention] was magnified, so that’s what I was seen as by everyone off the back of that.
“I used to dread it coming on the telly. I wouldn’t watch it but then I’d get a text off someone saying: ‘Oh you’ve been on that show again,’ as if it was a joke. Obviously people were finding it funny, but it was eating away at me a bit inside while that was happening.”
Hancock told the BBC on Monday of his shame. “Listening to Luke is incredibly humbling, he’s shown so much more generosity and understanding and good judgment than we did at the time,” he said.
“I’m appalled for him and at myself. When I hear him speaking, I’m full of admiration for the present Luke Chadwick and full of sympathy for the young Luke Chadwick. The terrible thing about comedians and comedy shows is that if you’re getting laughs, you think you’re doing a good job.
“Of course the worst thing for Luke was that it became a bit of a running joke. To us it was a photograph. That’s not good obviously, we should have been thinking about the person, but that’s what can happen.”
Chadwick, also speaking on BBC, said: “I became a picture of fun on most episodes. That was probably the hardest thing because that was such a popular TV show it sort of intensified and magnified [it]. That’s what I was seen as by everyone off the back of that show.
“Obviously I’m pretty sure they didn’t know how it was making me feel because I’m sure they’re good people and if they’d have known, they probably wouldn’t have done it. I used to dread it coming on the telly.
“It was sort of eating me up away a bit inside while that was happening, so that was the worst thing about it that made it intensify – more people saw me because of the way I looked rather than as a person and what I was as a footballer.”