Olivia Colman, Olly Murs, Alesha Dixon, David Harewood and Martin Compston to front Soccer Aid for UNICEF appeal films

The six appeal films tell of heartbreak and hope in Yemen, Bangladesh, DRC and Kenya

Home > Media Contacts and Press Releases > Olivia Colman, Olly Murs, Alesha Dixon, David Harewood and Martin Compston to front Soccer Aid for UNICEF appeal films

Wednesday 1st September 2021 – Soccer Aid for UNICEF has today revealed the six heartwarming appeal films that will appear during this year’s match, due to take place at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester on Saturday 4th September and broadcast live on ITV and STV.

Every year Soccer Aid for UNICEF features a collection of short films which showcase UNICEF programmes across the world. These films feature UNICEF UK Ambassadors and supporters who introduce viewers to some of the children and families who are being supported by their donations and show how the money raised from this year’s campaign could continue to help children around the world. This year, many of the films were made by local filmmakers around the world to tell the stories from their own communities.

This year’s appeal films will be fronted by UNICEF UK Ambassador and President, Olivia Colman, Soccer Aid for UNICEF England Captain, Olly Murs, UNICEF UK Ambassador, David Harewood and supporters Alesha Dixon and Martin Compston, and will feature children’s stories from around the world including Yemen, Bangladesh, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Kenya.

ITV viewers will be joined by David Harewood who will outline the history and impact of UNICEF’s work worldwide and how, thanks to donations raised by Soccer Aid, UNICEF has been working to keep children safe from hunger, disease, violence and the chaos of war and disaster.

The UK Committee for UNICEF (UNICEF UK) Ambassador and President, Olivia Colman will be introducing viewers to Aseel, a two-year-old boy who is suffering from malnutrition but is on the road to recovery at a UNICEF-supported hospital in Yemen.

Superstar turned children’s author, Alesha Dixon, will be introducing viewers to Badsha, a nine-year-old boy who is living on the streets in Bangladesh, where there are estimated to be around 670,000 street children – a situation which has been made worse by the pandemic.

Returning player and Soccer Aid for UNICEF 2021 England captain, Olly Murs will be re-visiting his experiences in Nairobi, Kenya in 2018 where he met children living and working on a dangerous rubbish dump. Three years later, this film will introduce ITV viewers to some of the children who have been able to reach their potential through the power of sport.

Soccer Aid World XI FC player, Martin Compston, will help share the story of Justin, twelve, and Justine, nine, who were separated from their mother following the eruption of Mount Nyiragongo in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in May earlier this year, and were helped by UNICEF supported transit centres to reunite with their mum.

Soccer Aid for UNICEF England Captain, Olly Murs, said: “There are so many people out there in the world that need our help. UNICEF have been at the forefront of helping these kids and families. I’ve seen it first hand when I went to Kenya to see UNICEF’s work. I really hope that we can continue to raise, and maybe even beat, the figures raised last year. I’ve really seen first-hand the effects that the money has on the kids and their families who receive the funding, and it is lifechanging. I really hope that, for them, we have a successful year.”

UNICEF UK Ambassador, David Harewood, said: “There are so many children around the world who are worrying about where their next meal comes from, worrying about their education, or just a drink of water. So I think it’s essential that if we can we help these children grow up in as normal environment as possible, and if we can allow them to play and have fun they can still hold onto some vestige of a normal childhood despite the chaos that’s around them, so I think it’s essential that UNICEF is doing the work that they do.

Alesha Dixon said: “It’s unimaginable that children anywhere in the world would have to live on the streets, let alone without their parents or someone to take care of them. And Covid-19 has made this so much worse, they have nowhere safe to go, no ways to make money and no one to turn to when things get dangerous. The work that UNICEF is doing to offer these children shelter, food, healthcare and education is absolutely essential and I’m asking everyone that watches or attends to please donate what you can to help.”

Soccer Aid World XI FC player, Martin Compston, said: The eruption of Mount Nyiragongo has been devastating for people in the Democratic Republic of Congo and it’s awful to see how families have been torn apart trying to escape the volcano’s path. UNICEF supported transit centres are crucial for reuniting these families, and helping children like Justin and Justine find their mother again after nearly two months of separation. With the Covid-19 pandemic making lives even tougher for children around the world, it has never been more important for families to be together, and for me that’s what Soccer Aid for UNICEF is all about – and why I’m proud to take part!”

Soccer Aid for UNICEF is the biggest celebrity football match in the world and this year there is a bumper week of shows across ITV and STV in the lead up to the match, helping raise as much money as possible to give children the best start in life. In the face of a global pandemic, public donations and fundraising could help UNICEF deliver 2 billion Covid-19 vaccines worldwide, get children back to school, beat malnutrition, and get the healthcare they need today and long after the crisis is over.

Since 2006, when UNICEF UK Ambassador Robbie Williams co-founded the concept, Soccer Aid for UNICEF has raised over £47m to help give children all over the world a childhood full of play. This year, with the support of the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) who are matching all donations up to £6.3 million, UNICEF UK is hoping to raise more money than ever for children everywhere, and beat the record breaking £9.3 million that was raised last year.

Watch Soccer Aid for UNICEF on Saturday 4 September on ITV and STV and donate now at socceraid.org.uk/donate

Notes to Editors:

Accompanying images can be found: https://unicef.resourcespace.com/pages/search.php?search=%21collection22580&k=14224025c2

For more details, please contact:

UNICEF UK Media Team, 0207 375 6030media@unicef.org.uk


UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.

The UK Committee for UNICEF (UNICEF UK) raises funds for UNICEF’s emergency and development work for children. We also promote and protect children’s rights in the UK and internationally. We are a UK charity, entirely funded by supporters.

United Kingdom Committee for UNICEF (UNICEF UK), Registered Charity No. 1072612 (England & Wales), SC043677 (Scotland).

For more information visit unicef.org.uk. Follow UNICEF UK on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube.

About Soccer Aid Productions Limited

The multi-stakeholder project of Soccer Aid for UNICEF is run by Soccer Aid Productions, a collaboration between UNICEF UK and Triple S Events which is part of the Triple S Sports & Entertainment Group.

About ITV Responsibility

ITV, as an integrated producer broadcaster, creates, owns and distributes high-quality content on multiple platforms. ITV operates the largest commercial family of channels in the UK and delivers content through traditional television broadcasting as well as on demand, via the ITV Hub. For more information, please visit itvplc.com. ITV’s social purpose is to use its influence on popular culture to create positive change. Its on-screen social cause strategy is focused on health and wellbeing, to inspire, engage and empower people to make a difference to their own and other people’s health. For more information, please visit itvresponsibility.com.

About Initial

Initial, part of Banijay, the UK’s largest television production group, are experienced in making large scale reality programmes, physical gameshows, quizzes and factual entertainment formats, which include hit shows such as Big Brother, Tenable and Total Wipeout. Initial has been the producer of Soccer Aid since its inception in 2006.