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Celebrate British sporting greatness

Celebrate British sporting greatness


Ahead of new BBC One series Jack Whitehall’s Sporting Nation, we take a look at Britain’s best alternative athletic achievements

By Virgin TV Edit

When it comes to sporting excellence, the UK knows what it takes to reach the top. You name it, we’ve probably done it (after repeated failed attempts).


New to BBC One, Jack Whitehall’s Sporting Nation will see the titular comedian and some of Britain’s best sports writers take a lighthearted look at our finest sporting moments from the past. Covering a range of iconic feats and characters, Whitehall and pals will assess our relationship with sport and how it’s shaped the story of the United Kingdom.


Episode 1 shines a spotlight on Britain’s history of hosting major sporting events – and why they pull the nation together like little else. From the 1908 London Olympics to the 2012 Games and the 1966 World Cup, it’s time to find out how we always bring our unique spin to the biggest of stages.


This new six-part series is ready to delve into Britain’s greatest athletic achievements, but what about the offbeat moments that are unlikely to make the cut? Here are six of the best…


Gazza’s dentist chair

Heading into Euro 96, England’s footballers (and particularly Paul Gascoigne) had a lot to prove to both the fans and media after a pre-tournament trip to the Far East ended in boozy chaos. After drawing with Switzerland in their opening match of the Championships, the Three Lions took on Scotland at Wembley in a game neither side could afford to lose. Cue that goal from Gazza, a celebration that silenced the critics and a 2-0 win for the hosts.


Derek Redmond gives us all the feels

It’s the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and British runner Derek Redmond is competing in the 400 metre semi-finals – only for a torn hamstring to bring a sudden halt to his race. A hobbling Redmond tried to continue, with his father coming onto the track to help his son cross the finish line (race records state he was disqualified) and produce one of the most iconic Olympic images ever. We’ve suddenly got some dust in our eye.


Kam you pay attention, please?

Broadcast journalism requires clear communication and a basic grasp of what’s going on in front of you. Enter Sky Sports’ Chris Kamara and his legendary feat of reportage on Soccer Saturday


Jack Leach slays the Aussies

We just love a plucky underdog, don’t we? During the 2019 Ashes Test at Headingley, unassuming England bowler Jack Leach showed he was handy with the bat by teaming up with Ben Stokes at the crease to pull off an improbable comeback win against the Aussies. Sure, Stokes may have scored nearly all the runs that got England over the line, but Leach’s persistence – and arguably the most legendary single of all time – played a huge part in the team’s highest ever run chase at Test level.


Andy Murray’s tears

The exact moment British men realised it was OK to cry can be traced back to Andy Murray’s defeat in the 2012 Wimbledon final. Having lost to Roger Federer, Muzza’s tears flowed freely during his post-match interview with Sue Barker. Stirring the hearts of the nation, he was back on Centre Court winning Olympic gold later that summer, before finally triumphing at Wimbledon the following year.


Freddie takes a tumble

Andrew Flintoff at the 2017 T20 Finals Day. Dressed as Elvis. Singing “Sweet Caroline” to the crowd. Then falling over backwards. What more do you want?


When is Jack Whitehall’s Sporting Nation on TV?

You can watch the first episode of Jack Whitehall’s Sporting Nation at 8.30pm on Friday 10 July on BBC One HD (CH 101). This six-part series will be shown weekly until Friday 14 August. Also available for 30 days in Apps  & Games > BBC iPlayer.

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Image credits: Jack Whitehall's Sporting Nation © Fulwell 73