Missing the football? Incredible films, TV series and documentaries to get your sport fix

From Sunderland 'Til I Die and The Test to Greavsie and Stop the Tour, we round up the best shows to stream while you wait for the sporting calendar to resume.

By Alex Fletcher Published: 23 March 2020 - 2.49pm
Amazon Prime Video

If you're looking to fill the big hole in your life left by the postponement of sporting events due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19), we’ve got just the ticket.

BT Sport, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video are stuffed with TV series, films and documentaries that show a side of your favourite sports you’ve never seen before.

From historical series about the birth of football and beautiful films about legends of the game to behind-the-scenes footage of the fiercest contest in cricket and an intimate look at life in the F1 fast lane, there is something for every sports fan will love.

Here are our top tips for the best sport to watch while the sport stops…

BT Sport Films

Greavsie

Greavsie - Documentary film on BT Sport BT Sport Films

The latest acclaimed documentary from BT Sport Films celebrates one of English football’s greatest ever goalscorers, Jimmy Greaves.

Greavsie is a rags-to-riches story filled with pain and glory. The documentary offers incredible footage as well as an insight into a legend of the game whose records are comparable to modern stars Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

Greaves' career post-retirement as a broadcaster and his battles off the pitch are almost as well-known as his achievements on it, but Greavsie celebrates the real man and his incredible life.

Stop the Tour

Stop The Tour - BT Sport Film BT Sport Films

Showing the powerful impact sport can have on politics, this film about the Stop the Tour protests and anti-apartheid movement comes 50 years after the Springbok rugby tour of Britain and Ireland in the winter of 1969/70.

The controversy surrounding the rugby tour followed hot of the heels of cricket's Basil d'Oliveira affair, when South African authorities objected to England selecting a mixed-race player, leading to the cancellation of England's tour to the country.

The protests that took place around the rugby tour games eventually lead to an international boycott of South African sport which lasted for more than two decades.

The film includes interviews with the lead protestors including Peter Hain, as well as sporting legends who ended up involved including Welsh rugby star John Taylor, cricketer Mike Proctor and rugby player Fagmie Solomons, who captained the non-segregated SARU team in the 1980s.

Rocky and Wrighty: From Brockley to the Big Time

Rocky and Wrighty - BT Sport Films BT Sport Films

Anyone who listened to Ian Wright’s recent appearance on Desert Island Discs will understand the significance of David Rocastle in his life and this BT Sport Film perfectly captures the unique story and relationship between two of Arsenal’s most revered players.

Exploring Rocky and Wrighty’s journeys from South London’s Honor Oak Estate to glory with Arsenal and the England national team, this is the tale of how one young prodigy inspired a late bloomer to new heights, before the tragic early death of Rocastle, aged only 33, of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Watch more feature-length documentaries from BT Sport Films

Netflix

The Battered Bastards of Baseball

The Battered Bastards of Baseball documentary film Netflix

This 2014 documentary about a minor league baseball team in Portland Oregon is a true hidden gem in the Netflix back catalogue.

The Portland Mavericks are now defunct, but their past is the stuff of sporting legend.

A classic underdog story, the film follows the team's exploits between 1973 and 1977. Even if you don’t have a clue about baseball this is raucous, uplifting and inspiring.

The English Game 

The English Game TV series from Julian Fellowes Netflix

Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes brings his period drama specialities of class and social etiquettes to the game of football in a six-part series about the birth of the professional game.

Following the story of two real-life figures instrumental in the early years of the game – Fergus Suter and Arthur Kinnaird – the drama covers the Cotton Mill riots, class divides and personal stories that were part of the game’s shift away from the control of the Old Etonians to the working classes.

The English Game is streaming from March 20 on Netflix.

Sunderland ‘Til I Die

Sunderland Till I Die series 1 Netflix

A must-watch docuseries which captured the highs and heartaches of being a football fan and shone a light on the connection between football clubs and communities better than any TV series had done before.

Following the residents, owners, managers and players at Sunderland AFC, the documentary was perfectly timed to chronicle the tumultuous 2017/18 season for the club, which ended in their relegation from the Championship.

Season 1 is streaming now on Netflix and season 2 arrives on Wednesday, April 1.  The second series focuses on new owner Stewart Donald and Executive Director Charlie Methven as they attempt to save the club from financial ruin and haul Sunderland out of the third tier of the English league.

The passion, aspiration and pain of the 2018/19 season are going to make this unmissable. But if you’re a fan of the Black Cats, you might want to hide behind the sofa.

The Short Game

A documentary film about the competitors in the US Kids Golf World Championship, The Short Game lifts the lid on youth golf and exposes both the cute and scary sides of the junior game.

Favourably compared to the classic 2002 spelling bee film Spellbound, this film is a hole-in-one whether you’re a golf fan or just curious about the dedication involved in youth sports and the efforts of over-zealous parents.

Formula 1: Drive to Survive

F1: Drive to Survive Netflix

Drive to Survive is a gripping, high-octane 10-part series which is the first documentary to give exclusive and intimate access to the greatest motor racing competition in the world.

From the makers of the documentaries Senna and Amy, this series digs into the true story of F1 - not only the fight to be number-one, but the battle for the heart, soul, and direction of this multi-billion-dollar business.

Going behind the scenes with the drivers, team principals and owners to gain a unique and raw perspective on their lives both on and off the track, you will see a new side to the tension and glamour of the sport. 

Boost BT TV with Netflix

Sign up to enjoy The English Game, The Stranger and After Life season 2.

Amazon Prime Video

The Test

The Test: A New Era for Australia's Team Amazon Prime Video

This series, which follows the Australian cricket team as they tried to turn around their reputation and fortunes following the ball-tampering scandal, is gripping, emotional and - even for England cricket fans who will have to endure seeing the Aussies lift the Ashes - unmissable.

For any sports fan, the peek behind the curtain and footage from the dressing room is incredible as coach Justin Langer attempts to rebuild the side from the ground up, forging a team who have to battle self-doubt, merciless opposition fans and relentless barbs from rivals on the pitch.

The final episodes, which cover the Ashes battle in England and Steve Smith’s showdown with the lethal pace of Jofra Archer, are as tense and gripping as any big-screen thriller.

This is Football

This Is Football documentary series Amazon Prime Video

This Is Football is an epic event series, which explores the true spirit of the beautiful game and examines the magic of a sport that unites people all over the world.

Universal themes of the human experience are covered as the films deal with topics as diverse as football’s role in rebuilding Rwanda after the genocide, the secrets of Lionel Messi and the pride and underdog spirit of Iceland’s football Vikings.

Filmed across the globe from Iceland to Argentina, Spain to Rwanda, and China to the United States, and including a glittering cast of characters from legendary players to presidents, poets to priests, managers to mathematicians, This is Football is a must-watch for every soccer fan.

Andy Murray: Resurfacing

Andy Murray in Resurfacing on Amazon Prime Video Amazon Prime Video

Unlike previous documentaries and TV interviews with Murray, which focused on his rivalry with three of the all-time greats in Federer, Nadal and Djokovic, Andy Murray Resurfacing will explore the toughest and darkest years of the Scotsman's career.

This isn't a simple comeback story, it's a human story about a man unwilling to accept defeat.

Andy Murray has often shunned the spotlight, choosing privacy over stardom and allowing his tennis to be the centre of attention, rather than his family.

For the first time, this series will scratch under the surface of the character who has always dug deep in his career but who is now facing his toughest and roughest challenge yet.

"The film will take you on a journey through what were some of the lowest, most difficult periods of my life both physically and mentally, and will hopefully show and inspire viewers, that with the right mindset and work ethic, anything is possible," said Murray.

Get Prime Video on BT TV

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