Hunt and Sheene – When Playboys Ruled The World

by Lisa McGarry

They were the sports stars who defined an era: the daredevil bravery they employed on the track taking them to the very top of world motorsport, and their hell-raising antics keeping them on the front and back pages of the world’s press.

ITV Sport is producing a new documentary looking at the lives of 1970s motorsport legends, James Hunt and Barry Sheene. When Playboys Ruled the World examines the close relationship between the two British world champions who, despite their different disciplines and backgrounds, became like brothers.

Formula One driver James Hunt, who won the 1976 world championship, and Barry Sheene, who won the motorcycle world championships in 1976 and 1977, were crowd favourites and national heroes. As famous for the party lifestyle they led away from the track as their achievements on it, they embraced the playboy tag given to them.

Narrated by Rupert Penry-Jones, When Playboys Ruled the World contrasts public and media attitudes towards the private lives of Hunt and Sheene in comparison to the heavily scrutinised lifestyles of today’s multi-million pound sports stars.

Produced by the team behind ITV Sport’s Grierson nominated documentary Clough, When Playboys Ruled the World mixes original interviews with James Hunt and Barry Sheene with exceptional archive footage and new opinion from friends, family members and industry experts. Contributors include Barry’s widow, Stephanie Sheene, James’s brother, David Hunt, Sir Stirling Moss, Max Mosley, Murray Walker, Max Clifford and Kelvin MacKenzie.

Niall Sloane, ITV Controller of Sport said: “James Hunt and Barry Sheene were the last of a generation whose lifestyles, as much as their huge success on the track, made them sporting heroes.

“This new documentary tells the fascinating story of two of Britain’s greatest motorsport champions and looks at a way of life and a friendship which probably would not exist in the modern sporting and media world.”

Monday, 15 November 2010, 10:35PM – 12:00AM ITV1