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Former professional sportsman-turned-actor meets famous SAS major father from Fiji

Date published: 06 December 2018


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A former professional sportsman-turned-actor, who was discovered by Tom Hardy, completed a 47-year journey after he set out to trace and meet his famous biological father, a former SAS major from the tiny islands of Fiji.

Journeying to the other side of the world, Danny Ligairi-Badham, who lives in Rochdale, was joined by a camera crew to document the exciting meeting with Ilisoni Ligairi.

The documentary, 'Finding My Father', also covers the former sportsman’s personal issues as he comes to terms with another culture and his attempts to being accepted.

Danny, who is rumoured to be linked with two blockbuster movie productions next year, starts putting pieces of the puzzle together while trying to up hold his career position as a top-level coach and his personal battle during the filming with England’s governing body for rugby, which nearly pushed the actor to a full mental breakdown trying to clear his name.

He said: “The pressure was immense: they even contacted my school, where I wasn’t teaching rugby, and told them I was suspended from coaching. Subsequently, I didn’t get my contract back and things spiralled from there.”

Professional counsellor and close friend Joanna Stankovich added: “Even for a man with his high endurance, the stress and pressure became too much, creating a cycle of high anxiety and depression.

“Pressures of work, then no work, family and home life, battling dark thoughts, unanswered questions, doubts...

“The intensity of his feelings. Finally meeting his biological father, family he had never seen before. A country that should be homeland but feeling quite a stranger and in his own mind a lot of the time, ruminating.”

 

Danny and Ilisoni
Danny and Ilisoni

 

Danny’s global charity work and projects took some of the pressure off, as he was able to continue helping six boys travel from the poorer areas of Fiji and slums of Kenya for a trip of a lifetime to play and be educated in Europe.

Danny made his screen debut in Tom Hardy’s BBC One drama, Taboo, playing the role of Polynesian sailor Martinez, four years after he was discovered by Hardy, whose dog interrupted an U14 rugby session Danny was coaching in a London park.

Since his rise to stardom, Danny, who was born in Hereford, has also become an ambassador for Adoption UK. He himself was adopted when he was one by a couple from Worcester.

Danny moved to Rochdale in 2001 where he met his partner, Nina Ratu, and they have three children.

Trailer for Finding My Father

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