Paul Gascoigne would ‘wake up screaming in the night’ as young boy after pal’s death

Paul Gascoigne in tears as son makes Dancing on Ice debut

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The first episode of the two-part documentary Gazza will air on BBC Two tonight and will provide an in-depth look at the troubled football star’s life, which was at odds with his sporting brilliance. In the first instalment, Paul’s family describes the impact the horrific childhood trauma of watching his nine-year-old friend die in front of him had on the former professional footballer, who battled many demons throughout his legendary career. Close relatives recall how an 11-year-old Paul blamed himself for his pal’s tragic death and would frequently “wake up screaming” in the night.

The upcoming documentary looks through old footage of Paul’s career highlights and personal lows.

The 54-year-old’s family, as well as those from the media at the centre of Paul’s scandalous stories at the time, narrate their memories of the person often deemed England’s most talented player.

“Paul was always happiest when A, when he was playing football or B, when my dad was back,” stated Paul’s sister Anna over the archive footage.

She revealed their father was away in Germany a lot, adding: “No one’s family is perfect.”

Recalling a scarring incident for Paul, she went on: “At this young age, all this trauma came into his life.

“Paul was 11, Steven was nine – they were just kids messing about.

“They came out of a shop and Steven ran after Paul and the car hit him, and he died in Paul’s arms.”

Paul’s mother Carol continued the heartbreaking story, adding: “The coroner came to the house and he was all in black.

“He asked Paul questions, it was terrible, it broke my heart.”

“I know that Paul blamed himself for Steven’s death,” Anna added. “He’d wake up screaming in the middle of the night.”

Carol explained: “He started to get a stutter, I asked for help. His dad used to take him.

“I know Paul just didn’t want to go back anymore so his dad wouldn’t let him go back, so he didn’t really get the help he should [have had].

“I used to cry for him, I just wanted him to be happy. He started playing his football and he seemed to be okay after that.”

Paul’s football genius came alongside a media circus which spiralled out of control with his troubled private life.

The programme explores how the legend of “Gazza” came about and how he struggled to cope with intense media intrusion.

Producer Vaughan Sivell detailed Paul’s reaction to the documentary. Speaking to and other media, Vaughan explained: “He liked it.

“I think it’s a very brave thing to do. He’s involved but didn’t have any editorial control or creative control at all.

“And so he literally did see it sort of finished and it’s very raw for him. I certainly wouldn’t like somebody to make a film about me and I didn’t do half of it so it’s very raw for him.”

He added: “What I think is most telling about how he feels about it now is, all I can tell you from having a very long and moving, for the both of us, conversation very recently was that he became incredibly emotional talking to me about things like his dad.

“But also the pain he feels at still wishing he could play football.”

Gazza airs on BBC Two at 9pm on Wednesday.

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