The greatest sports documentary of all time?

Watch a clip from Living With Lions

In 1997, rugby union was just two years into the brave new world of professionalism. 1997 was also the year of the first British and Irish Lions tour of the professional era and the first Lions tour I remember watching on TV. The British and Irish Lions are a unique sports team, dating back to 1888. They only play once every four years and are made up of the best players from the national teams of England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. The team where given no hope of beating the 1995 Rugby World Cup champions, South Africa in a 3 test match series, so when rugby fans and filmmakers Duncan Humphreys,  Fred Rees, decided it would be a good idea risk money on making a behind the scenes documentary about the team on tour, people thought they were crazy!

Living With Lions is the warts and all documentary account of the historic 1997 British and Irish Lions Tour of South Africa. This defined sports documentary making for a generation. For me, it combines my love of rugby, and little known to me at the time would be a big influence on my future as a documentary filmmaker. I've been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to work on a number of rugby films, for the Welsh Rugby Union, USA Rugby and a documentary film on the Newport, Wales, Lions and dual code rugby legend Dai Watkins.

Inside a previously hidden world, it showed sport as raw, brutal, beautiful and comic. It’s been aped many times but never quite matched. Twenty years on, 5 Live brings together the men behind the cameras and those who became unwitting stars. This is the inside story of the ultimate inside story
— BBC Radio 5 Live

On the 20th anniversary of Living With Lions BBC Radio 5 Live, have released a fantastic podcast, that tells the story of the making of the groundbreaking documentary.

Listen to Living With Lions: The Inside Story here 

Watch my own attempt at Living With Lions with  the documentary series I made with Matt McCarthy for USA Rugby at the 1995 Rugby World Cup