The crews of TV show Ted Lasso and upcoming film Heart of Stone went head-to-head for a charity football match at QPR’s Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium last Sunday.
The Mark Milsome Memorial Cup 2022 raised more than £4,500 for the Mark Milsome Foundation, a registered UK charity that supports young talent in the British film and television industry, and seeks to educate and promote modern health and safety practice.
Mark Milsome was a camera operator from Barnes who was killed aged 54 whilst shooting a car stunt in Ghana in November 2017 for a joint Netflix and BBC production.
Mark’s widow Andra, who used to be in the industry herself as a wardrobe supervisor, set up the charity.
She said: “The outpouring from the industry has been absolutely amazing.
“It’s just launched so many possibilities in so many different areas that we wouldn’t have thought possible.
“I really have tried to think of what he would want, and if he needs to be the posterboy for change, what a legacy to leave.”
The foundation is sustained by profits from merchandise sales, notably from t-shirts that have been worn by Robert De Niro, Dame Judi Dench and Benedict Cumberbatch among others, by donations and through fundraising events such as the Mark Milsome Memorial Cup.
Now in its third year, the match is the brainchild of Andy Woodcock and Harry Bowers, former friends and colleagues of Milsome’s both currently working on Heart of Stone, who hope to grow the event and cement it as an annual fixture around the time of Mark’s birthday, 23 May.
Readily admitting Mark wasn’t particularly passionate about football, the day instead honours his ability to unite friends, colleagues and family from across all departments and productions in the industry.
As Woodcock put it: “Beer and football, what’s not to love?”
The crowd of 400 attendees at last year’s match at Crystal Palace’s home venue, Selhurst Park, was topped this year as around 450 tickets were sold.
Heart of Stone is an upcoming Netflix spy thriller starring Gal Gadot and Jaime Dornan.
Ted Lasso is an HBO series set and filmed in Richmond upon Thames, following the trials and tribulations of an American football coach portrayed by Jason Sudeikis as he manages fictional AFC Richmond.
Although both squads boasted an inclusive mix of players, the Lasso team were the bookie’s favourites as many of the background cast and crew on the football-centric show had a degree of amateur or semi-professional experience.
Despite falling a goal behind within the first three minutes, underdogs Heart of Stone held their own and by half time it was all square at two goals apiece.
As the players caught their breath and regrouped, east London comedian Peter Merre took to the pitch to auction two jerseys signed by the principal cast members from both productions, leaving the crowd in awe as they fetched £660.
As the final whistle blew it was 3-3, and the decision was made to head straight to a penalty shootout.
Consistent goal scoring took proceedings all the way to sudden death, where a miss by Ted Lasso paved the way for a triumphant victory for Heart of Stone.
Andra presented the winners with the cup, and proceedings continued in the stadium bar where the jibe “Ted Lass-who?” could be heard circulating at high volume.
Underlying the joy and camaraderie of the event was the memory of Mark Milsome, remembered fondly by all as a kind, warm and humorous man.
The failings that led to his untimely passing remain a hot-button issue to this day, a fact highlighted by the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on a US set last October.
Bowers said: “The systematic things that went wrong in the Alec Baldwin case can go wrong on British sets and were very similar to the things that went wrong in Mark’s case.
“We’ve got a lot of regulations in England but they don’t always keep people safe.
“When you follow a case like Mark’s through to inquest, you realise all those regulations allow people to hide behind the responsibility being spread around until no one is held accountable.”
Bowers, affectionately described by Andra as Mark’s ‘work wife’, was given his break in the industry by Mark, who mentored him as a cinematographer for over two decades, the pair working on over 40 projects together and becoming great friends.
In February 2018, 250 members of the British film and television industry joined friends and family to honour Mark at BAFTA in London.
Donations to the Mark Milsome Foundation can be made here.