St Albans producer’s cricket documentary explores players’ mental pressures

Felix White, Graeme Swann, Barney Douglas, James Anderson, Paul Collingwood, Monty Panesar, Tim Bres

Felix White, Graeme Swann, Barney Douglas, James Anderson, Paul Collingwood, Monty Panesar, Tim Bresnan, Ian Bell, Jonathan Trott, Andrew Strauss, Alastair Cook and Steven Finn attend the world premiere of 'The Edge'. Picture: Dave J Hogan - Credit: Dave J Hogan

A St Albans film producer is highlighting mental health issues among professional athletes in his new documentary.

The new feature-length production, The Edge, draws attention to the psychological impact and mental pressures put on cricketers.

The documentary is produced by St Albans local, John McKenna, and looks at the rise of the England cricket team from 2009 to 2013 and the mental strain put on the athletes to become world number one. Ex-players from the team will attend The Odyssey Cinema's screening on September 26 and there will be a Q&A with John as he introduces the film.

The documentary has been praised for its sincerity and openness about the emotional dangers of cricket, which is often seen as one of the most psychologically challenging and demanding sports. Many players discuss their personal experiences with the mounting professional pressure before the Test matches.

John said: "The film has a big mental health angle and has been amazingly received so far."

'The Edge' does not only convey a profound message of preserving mental health but also has light-hearted comedy and relief, as it delves into the lives of many team members. It features a star-studded cast and never-before-seen interviews with Andrew Strauss, Kevin Pietersen and Sir Alastair Cook.

In support of its message of mental wellness, the film has two charity partners who will be supported by the film's success. They are The Ruth Strauss Foundation, named after Andrew Strauss' wife, who passed away in 2018 and Heads Together, aiming to combat the stigma around mental health.

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This is not John's first successful documentary, as he also produced Bobby Robson: More Than a Manager (2018), which also previewed at The Odyssey Cinema.

John and his team are excited about the screening in his hometown, and he added: "It's a film that anyone who loves sport will enjoy and take a lot from."

Stacey Turner, founder of the It's OK To Say mental health awareness campaign, said: "I love this! I really can't wait to join John and players to see this on the 26th.

"If you haven't already done so, book your tickets and join us to learn more about how daunting and scary psychological pressure can be. You may even take something away to apply to your own life."