Bend It Like Beckham is one of the most iconic football films to ever grace the screen. Gurinder Chadha's low budget project was a critical success, tackling sexism, racism and homophobia, and making stars of leading duo Parminder Nagra and Keira Knightley. 

When the film came out in 2002, Women's football in the UK was barely even an afterthought. England had not qualified for the World Cup for seven years, and the Women's Premier League consisted primarily of amateur sides.

In the 18 years since Bend It Like Beckham was released, the landscape of the women's game has changed dramatically. Fixtures are shown on prime time terrestrial television, England boasts a fully professional women's league, and the Lionesses have reached the semi final stage at three consecutive major tournaments. 

So how would Bend it Like Beckham look if it was made in 2020?

The Name

In 2002, Manchester United ​were one of the dominant forces in English football, with David Beckham fast becoming an icon for club and country.

With Beckham now retired, and ​United without a Premier League title since Sir Alex Ferguson retired, in the 2020 remake, protagonist Jess Bhamra would need a new idol to worship and a new team to support.

Following the same logic as the original (Beckham was an English talisman for one of the country's top teams), in 2020 Jess' hero would of course be Liverpool captain ​Jordan Henderson.

Pictures of the Mackem heart throb would dec her bedroom walls, and Jess would pour her heart out to Hendo about all her hopes and fears.

As a result, Jess would not be a silky winger, but a hard working central midfielder like her hero.

"Anyone can cook aloo gobi, but who can put in a shift like Jordan Henderson?"

The Location

​The film is originally set in Hounslow, London, and Jess and Jules play for Hounslow Harriers. However in 2020, the rising cost of London rent will have priced the Paxmans and the Bhamras out of the capital.

There are also an assortment of professional women's teams in London today, so Jess and Jules wouldn't have had to go to the States to pursue their ambitions of playing professionally, as they would have Arsenal, Chelsea and West Ham on their doorstep.

Where in England can you not play professional women's football in 2020? 

Rural Norfolk.

Jess and Jules play for the mighty Great Yarmouth FC, where they dream of one day being scouted for a professional women's team and leaving East Anglia behind them.

Football Boot Shopping

​In the film, Jules takes Jess to Soccer Scene, London's famous sports shop in Soho, to buy her first proper pair of football boots.

There's no Soccer Scene in rural Norfolk.

Instead, the pair take the bus into Norwich and go to Sports Direct. Jess buys up a pair of adidas boots that were reduced by 70%, and also picks up a pack of five Slazenger socks for £3, because when in Rome and all that.


Kelly Smith moves the ball against Shannon Boxx

Jules digs out a VHS of highlights from WUSA - the fully professional women's soccer league in the United States. Kelly Smith and Mia Hamm both feature in the montage, and Jess and Jules watch on enviously, dreaming of one day being paid to play the beautiful game.

WUSA folded in 2003, and although the National Women's Soccer League was formed in 2009, in 2020 Jess and Jules can have ambitions much closer to home after the WSL kicked off in 2011.

In today's adaptation of the film, Jules will get the Women's Football Show up on BBC IPlayer. 

Eilidh Barbour will make a cheeky cameo, and while Jules will be captivated by the goal scoring feats of Vivianne Miedema and Beth England, Jess will be inspired by midfield engines Jill Scott and Jordan Nobbs, as the Sunderland natives cover every blade of grass, just like her beloved Jordan Henderson.

Coach Joe

Jess and Jules' friendship is put to the test when they both fall for their coach, Joe. Jules catches Jess and Joe on the brink of a kiss, calls Jess a bitch and storms off.

In 2020, Jules would report Joe to Great Yarmouth FC's human resources department. Joe would be suspended pending an HR investigation due to accusations of having inappropriate relations with a player. He sends number two Neil Critchley to take charge of the team for their crucial Norfolk Women's County Cup semi final against Bungay Town Ladies.

Jess Gets Caught

In the film, Jess' strict parents discover she has been lying about playing for a football team when they see the team's picture in the local paper.

In 2020, ​with print media on the decline and social media all the range, Jess would be caught out by a nosy aunt who grasses her up after seeing her tagged in a picture on Facebook.

The Finale

Jess famously imitates her hero Beckham in the film's climax by bending home a free kick​ to win the cup for Hounslow - with a little bit of help from some questionable goalkeeping.

The 2020 adaptation will have a slightly less dramatic finale. Jess will instead mirror her idol Jordan Henderson by completing a gut busting recovery run and neatly tidying up at the back. 

The Destination

Although the dream of earning a college scholarship in the USA is still very much a dream for many young female footballers in the UK, there are now alternatives in England and Scotland. 

In the film, Jess and Jules are discovered by an American scout, who takes them to Santa Clara University in California. 

Chelsea Women v Arsenal - FA WSL

In today's adaptation, a WSL scout shows up to Great Yarmouth's Norfolk Women's County Cup final, and makes Jess and Jules' professional football dreams come true by offering them a one year deal at Birmingham City.

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