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Once Were Lions: BBC iPlayer picks up Rugby League documentary

Staff Writer

A new documentary about the Great Britain Rugby League Lions 2019 tour to the southern hemisphere is coming to BBC iPlayer.

Once Were Lions follows the GB Lions as they tour New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. Given unprecedented and unfettered access to the Lions’ first tour in 12 years by the Rugby Football League, the film looks thoughtfully at a game of immense skill, strength and speed with a unique heritage and international popularity, and reflects on the GB Lions’ performance.

The feature-length film explores Rugby League’s northern heartlands, as well as issues of masculinity, race, class, friendship, ambition and sacrifice, and looks ahead to the future of the sport, with the 2021 Rugby League World Cup due to be hosted in England.

Dan McGolpin, controller of BBC iPlayer, says: “This gripping documentary film gives iPlayer viewers privileged access to the GB Lions squad on tour together with fascinating insights into Rugby League, its roots and its future. Whether you are new to the sport or already a fan, it’s an enjoyable and rewarding watch ahead of next year’s World Cup.”

The feature-length documentary was produced by UK-based independent production company Chalkboard Television and award-winning documentary producer Ad Hoc Films. Executive producers are Mike Benson from Chalkboard, Mat Hodgson and Daniel Glynn from Ad Hoc, and Mandy Chang and Jo Lapping from the BBC.

The film arrives on BBC iPlayer on 21st November. It joins a number of other documentaries on iPlayer, including Lance, OJ: Made in America, When We Were Kings, The Two Escobars, Climbing Blind, The Edge, The Australian Dream, Afghan Cricket Club: Out Of The Ashes, and Eagle Huntress.

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