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Sports Life Stories

All Episodes 2012 - 2015

  • Ended
  • ITV4
  • 2012-10-23T00:00:00Z
  • 60 mins
  • 1 day, 0 mins
  • Documentary
Sporting legends speak honestly and candidly about their careers, giving a fascinating insight into the mindset required to reach the very top of their game.

24 episodes

1x01 Barry McGuigan

  • Series Premiere

    2012-10-24T02:00:00Z — 60 mins

Former world featherweight boxing champion Barry McGuigan discusses his life inside the ring, and how he became one of the most high-profile figures in Northern Ireland during a difficult time for the country. The Irish boxer, undisputably one of the best boxers of his generation, talks frankly to about the highs and the lows he experienced in his journey to become the best in the world. Arguably McGuigan did something during the troubles in Ireland that the politicians could not achieve. In those brief moments when he fought in the ring he united a nation in confict. As an amateur he won a multitude of titles. At the tender age of 17 he took the gold medal at the 1978 Commonwealth Games and as a professional he won the British, European and World Titles. On a memorable night in June 1985, a television audience of 20m watched as McGuigan achieved his dream and became World Featherweight Champion of the World by defeating Eusebio Pedroza. His amazing performance later captured him the title of BBC Sports Personality of the Year. McGuigan’s popularity transcended the sport of boxing and his fights became family occasions, uniting people across sectarian and religious divides during a troubled time in the country’s political history.

1x02 Gareth Thomas

  • 2012-10-31T02:00:00Z — 60 mins

Gareth Thomas was the first Welshman to get a 100 caps, captained the British and Irish Lions, and led Wales to their first Six Nations Grand Slam in 27 years. He also became the one of the first major British sports star to come out as gay. Thomas’s story is remarkable by any sportsman’s standards. Universally known by his nickname ‘Alfie’, he amassed an incredible list of achievements in more than a decade at the top of his sport. He has claimed a record number of Test tries for his country, beating the mark of 33 set by Ieuan Evans, and in 2005 he racked up not just the Grand Slam but also a Heineken Cup-winner’s medal with Toulouse. Thomas stepped into the breach as leader of Sir Clive Woodward’s Lions when captain Brian O’Driscoll’s tour was prematurely ended, and he reached the milestone of 100 caps, the most won by any Wales player, during the 2007 Rugby World Cup. Away from the field, his experiences have often read like a real-life soap opera. Yet, amid the highs and lows of a remarkable rugby odyssey, it is Thomas’s alternative yet engaging personality that marks him out as a true one-off.

1x03 Ronnie O'Sullivan

  • 2012-11-07T03:00:00Z — 60 mins

Ronnie O’Sullivan is widely considered to be one of the most gifted and talented players in the history of the sport. The Englishman has won the world championship on four occasions so far in his career, and amassed a total of 24 ranking titles. But ‘The Rocket’ also has a reputation for being one of the most controversial players on the tour. He has had several clashes with the sport’s authorities, and has also made several threats to quit the sport. The programme, presented by Adam Darke, features contributions from World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn and the legendary Jimmy White.

1x07 Fabrice Muamba

  • 2012-12-05T03:00:00Z — 60 mins

In this edition, former Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba talks about how he was at the centre of one of the most extraordinary sports stories of the year. He describes how he felt that day last March when he suffered a heart attack on the pitch during a live televised FA Cup match. Still only 24-years-of-age, Muamba also talks about his early life as a young Congolese boy coming to England at the age of 11 speaking no English at all, and about his subsequent successful but short professional career in the game. The programme also features contributions from Jermaine Defoe, Owen Coyle and Patrick Vieira.

1x08 Brian Lara

  • 2012-12-12T03:00:00Z — 60 mins

The West Indies cricketer talks about his career as one of the greatest batsman in the history of the game. With contributions from Clive Lloyd, Alex Stewart and Michael Vaughan.

2x01 James Cracknell

  • Season Premiere

    2013-10-23T02:00:00Z — 60 mins

A profile of the former rower who won gold as part of the coxless four at both the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games staged in Sydney and Athens respectively. Cracknell began rowing while still in school, and took part in the Junior World Championships in 1989 and 1990, before progressing to the senior ranks. Following his career he has embarked on a series of adventures while raising money for charity, and was involved in a serious accident in 2010 when attempting to cycle, row, run and swim from Los Angeles to New York. With contributions from his wife Beverley Turner and Steve Redgrave.

2x02 David Weir

  • 2013-10-30T02:00:00Z — 60 mins

A profile of the British Paralympic athlete, who won four gold medals at London 2012, and has amassed a total of 10 Paralympic medals in his career so far. Weir has also had great success in the London Marathon, winning it on six occasions, the last of which came in 2012 and saw him equal the record set by Tanni Grey-Thompson.

2x03 Jermain Defoe

  • 2013-11-06T03:00:00Z — 60 mins

A profile of the Tottenham Hotspur and England footballer, who made his Premier League debut for West Ham United aged 18, and has also represented Portsmouth in the top flight. Throughout that time Defoe has had to overcome a series of personal tragedies, including the death of his half-brother in 2009 following an assault, as well as the loss of his father, who died while the striker was away on international duty preparing for Euro 2012 with the England squad.

2x04 Nicola Adams

  • 2013-11-13T03:00:00Z — 60 mins

A profile of the Leeds-born boxer, who won the first Olympic women's boxing gold medal in history with her victory at London 2012. Adams won the flyweight title by beating world number one Ren Cancan, and awarded an MBE for services to boxing in the subsequent New Year Honours List. Including contributions from her family and trainer.

2x05 Jimmy White

  • 2013-12-27T03:00:00Z — 60 mins

A profile of the snooker player, who reached six World Championship finals during the 1980s and 90s, but failed to win any of them, yet became vastly popular with the public for his `whirlwind' style of play. Away from the baize White has also appeared in several TV shows, including the 2009 series of I'm a Celebrity Get me out of Here and the snooker-based game show Big Break.

2x06 Eric Bristow

  • 2013-12-04T03:00:00Z — 60 mins

A profile of the former professional darts player, who won the World Championship on five occasions in the 1980s before the acrimonious division within the sport that resulted in the breakaway PDC organisation, of which Bristow was one of the founding members. In addition to his five world titles, Bristow was one of the most successful players throughout his career, and after retirement appeared on the 2012 series of I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here.

2x07 Didier Drogba

  • 2013-12-11T03:00:00Z — 60 mins

A profile of the Galatasaray and Ivory Coast striker, who is best known for his time at Chelsea, which was marked by some outstanding and controversial moments. Drogba was a key figure during Jose Mourinho's first spell in charge of the Blues, winning several trophies, but also being known for his theatrics and his sending-off in the 2008 UEFA Champions League final against Manchester United.

2x08 Chris Eubank

  • 2013-12-18T03:00:00Z — 60 mins

A profile of the former boxer, who held world titles at both middleweight and super-middleweight, and was involved in some of the biggest domestic bouts of the 1990s. Eubank was just as well known for his exploits outside the ring, particularly for his flamboyant fashion sense, his collection of vehicles that included a large American truck, and several documentary programmes that were televised in the early part of this century.

3x01 Peter Shilton

  • Season Premiere

    2015-02-18T03:00:00Z — 60 mins

The sports documentary series returns beginning with former England goalkeeper Peter Shilton who still holds the record as England's most capped player.

3x02 Chris Froome

  • 2015-02-25T03:00:00Z — 60 mins

The sports documentary series continues as cyclist Chris Froome recounts the remarkable story of how he became only the second British winner of the Tour De France.

3x03 Paula Radcliffe

  • 2015-03-04T03:00:00Z — 60 mins

The sports documentary series looks at the career of Paula Radcliffe whose world record for the marathon has already stood for more than a decade.

3x04 Andy Cole

  • 2015-03-11T02:00:00Z — 60 mins

The sports documentary series looks at the career of one of the Premier League's most acclaimed strikers - Andy Cole. Although the record books show that he is still the second highest scorer of Premier League goals, and that he played for the large part of his career at Manchester United, little is known about his story. What made him tick, and why he is often still painted as a difficult and troubled personality? The programme attempts to get inside the mind of one of the most clinical finishers ever to grace the game. Friends and family offer insight into his character and his background, with contributions from Sir Alex Ferguson, Kevin Keegan, Ryan Giggs, Sol Campbell and Dwight Yorke.

3x05 Linford Christie

  • 2015-03-25T02:00:00Z — 60 mins

The sports documentary series focuses on the legendary Jamaican born British sprinter - the only British man to have won gold medals in all four major competitions.

3x06 John Barnes

  • 2015-04-01T02:00:00Z — 60 mins

The sports documentary series looks at the career of Jamaican born footballer John Barnes who was instrumental in change towards racial prejudice on the terraces in the 1980s.

3x07 Jason Robinson

  • 2015-04-08T02:00:00Z — 60 mins

The sports documentary charts the story of rugby star Jason Robinson's rise from inner-city council estate to World Cup winner. With contributions from Sir Clive Woodward.

3x08 Carl Frotch

  • 2015-04-15T02:00:00Z — 60 mins

The sports documentary series looks at the life of boxer Carl Froch who as he nears retirement, looks back on some of the biggests fights of his career. When Carl Froch knocked out George Groves in front of 80,000 fans at Wembley he cemented his place in boxing legend. He has taken on some of the most dangerous men in his division time. No one who saw his extraordinary Rocky-like victory over Jermain Taylor in the final seconds of their world title bout in 2009 will be in doubt of Froch's warrior spirit. This revealing film features extensive action from all of the Nottingham fighter's greatest bouts, as well as interviews with his partner, Rachael Cordingley, coach Rob McCracken and boxing great Barry McGuigan.