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Sports Documentaries: Your New Favourite TV Binge Watch

26th November 2023 Print

They say that the truth is often stranger than fiction, so therefore ‘real life’ can be considered more entertaining or jaw-dropping than anything a Hollywood scriptwriter can come up with.

Sport, given its amazing characters and edge-of-the-seat action, is the perfect vehicle for a documentary series – with viewers lapping up the high-profile offerings from some of the leading streaming networks.

Often, you don’t even need to be a fan of the sport in question to enjoy the events as they unfold on screen, so here’s a look at some of the best sports documentary series that are available to stream right now.

Ronnie O’Sullivan: Edge of Everything

It would perhaps be fair to describe snooker as a Marmite sport: it’s certainly not for everyone.

But few sportspeople of the modern era can match Ronnie O’Sullivan for compelling viewing, so it’s only right that Amazon Prime have put his life under the microscope in their Edge of Everything series.

At the age of 46, ‘The Rocket’ is still one of the fiercest competitors in the sport, perennially amongst the favourites in the snooker odds for any tournament. Indeed, O’Sullivan is the second choice for those placing their snooker UK Championship bets at 5/1 behind Judd Trump, the 4/1 protagonist who is perhaps The Rocket’s heir apparent as snooker’s great entertainer.

A complicated man with more layers than even the princeliest of onions, O’Sullivan makes for unmissable viewing – both at the snooker table and away from it.

Formula 1: Drive to Survive

Although nobody from Formula One has confirmed as much, the success of Netflix’s Drive to Survive is considered to have been a key factor behind the resurrection of the Las Vegas Grand Prix – the 2023 race that saw the sport return to Sin City for the first time in four decades.

American viewers have taken to F1 in a big way – TV audiences have almost doubled since 2018 when the documentary first aired, while fans of the sport all over the globe have reacted favourably to getting a closer look behind-the-scenes of an often chaotic raceday.

Full Swing

From teenage phenoms to grizzled veterans, few professional sports cover a wider age range than golf.

There’s a stack of different characters too, which allied to the tinderbox of the sport’s civil war between the PGA Tour and rebel LIV Golf circuit – which the Netflix cameras were rolling for – makes for absorbing viewing.

Full Swing follows the fortunes of a handful of players who it’s fair to say experience differing fortunes out on the course, with some fascinating personalities that you may not have heard much about before – including Joel Dahmen, a fun-loving guy battling imposter syndrome; a fight for many athletes that can be just as challenging as besting their rivals.

If you think that golf is simply a bunch of people hitting a ball around with a stick, be prepared to have your preconceptions shattered.

Last Chance U

Triumph. Adversity. Anger. Sadness. Dreams coming true. Dreams being shattered.

If you thought Hollywood have a varied toolkit of emotions to work with, that is nothing compared to the gamut of human experiences that sport so often creates.

Last Chance U takes viewers on an emotional journey unlike any other; it’s hard to think of many documentary series that will have you rooting for the protagonists as much as this Netflix cult smash.

Featuring young people that have experienced a variety of personal problems, redemption is offered via a college football programme – the incredible turnarounds in many of the individuals, and the journey getting there, is quite simply binge watch heaven… as are all of the shows featured on this list.