Reality TV and sport: the perfect combination?

Recently, when doing the typical late night browse of Netflix with a few of my house mates, the documentary ‘Drive to survive’ appeared in my recommendations. I was somewhat bewildered at first. I haven’t got an innate love of F1, nor have I watched any car related shows except for Top Gear, so the suggestion […]

Tom Moorcroft
16th March 2020
** FILE ** Ferrari driver Michael Schumacher of Germany is cheerd by his pit crew as he heads for the finish line to win the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne, in this Sunday, March 12, 2000 file photo. Seven-time World Champion, Schumacher announced Sunday Sept. 10, 2006 that he will retire from Formula One at the end of this season. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
Recently, when doing the typical late night browse of Netflix with a few of my house mates, the documentary ‘Drive to survive’ appeared in my recommendations. I was somewhat bewildered at first. I haven’t got an innate love of F1, nor have I watched any car related shows except for Top Gear, so the suggestion that it would be something I’d like was puzzling. However, after being urged by F1 aficionado Finlay Ransome, we were hooked to the high octane drama and edge-of-your-seat addiction which F1 had to offer.

What immediately hooked me was the amount of drama that got packed into the short 30 minute episodes. Now I know, in reality F1 could be viewed as somewhat dull, but when condensed into these little snippets of action, accompanied by off the track interviews and personal battles which become uncovered as the documentary develops were outstandingly eye catching. Whether it was Daniel Ricciardo switching from Red Bull to Renault, or the saddening tale of F2 driver Anthoine Hubert suffering from a fatal crash, my and my mates were laughing, shouting, and at times emotional throughout.

It begs the question: What role does TV have in our appreciation of sport? We’re not immune to the presence of shows such as ‘All or Nothing: Man City’, or ‘Sunderland till I die’, but these shows are often only chosen by fans of that sport. In the one opportunity I took to have a gander at F1, a sport perhaps notoriously mentioned for it’s length and dullness, I was instantly sucked in to it’s aura. It’s not only 20 people driving around a track. It’s nudges, crashes, trash-talking, communication with a mentor, pit stops which sometimes go a little pear shaped.

If you told me I’d been screaming at a pit crew for taking 30 seconds to change someone's tyres, as opposed to the conventional 2, then I’d say you were mad!


So I guess the moral of this short article is to try something new. There’s a wide variety of sports shows on both Netflix and Amazon which offer the chance to harness new fans for their chosen sport, in a concise and dramatised manner.

Source: PublicDomainPictures


Who knows. Maybe one day, when they release an ‘All or die’ Cricket special, I may finally be hooked!

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AUTHOR: Tom Moorcroft
Head of Sport for The Courier. Current 3rd year English Literature and History student. Love writing about sports/music, playing the guitar and Everton FC!

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