A new documentary series about the extraordinary story of South African Paralympic and Olympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius is coming to BBC iPlayer.
The Trials Of Oscar Pistorius tells the story of the ‘Blade Runner’ – who went from being an international hero, who inspired millions with his determination and dedication, to being charged with murder when he killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day 2013.
The Trials Of Oscar Pistorius is a Very Much So production, in association with the BBC, Ventureland and Passion Pictures, and was originally commissioned for ESPN, who earlier this year were responsible for Emmy award-winning Chicago Bulls documentary The Last Dance and captivating two-part series Lance.
The series is directed by Bafta award-winner Daniel Gordon (Hillsborough, George Best: All By Himself) and produced by John Battsek (of the Academy-Award winning Searching For Sugar Man and One Day In September).
The series features interviews with more than a dozen of the figures closest to the story, the film recounts Pistorius’s fall from grace after killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in the small hours of 14 February, 2013 in his home in Pretoria, South Africa.
According to Pistorius, the event was a tragic accident, but his troubled past and questionable testimony cast doubt on his innocence.
As the saga unfolds, the story flashes back to the very beginning of the future Paralympic star’s life, chronicling his improbable ascent from a young boy who had both his undeveloped legs amputated as a toddler to overnight teenage phenomenon at the 2004 Athens Paralympic Games.
Shattering records and convention, ‘The Blade Runner’, as he became known, then went on a quest to compete against non-disabled athletes at the Olympics.
His struggle against international track and field officials continued for years before Pistorius finally prevailed and competed at the London Olympics in 2012. Less than a year later, he found himself in a South African courtroom, accused of murdering his girlfriend.
Director, Daniel Gordon says: “The story of Oscar Pistorius is remarkable in its complexity. It’s at once inspirational and harrowing, and provides a lens of insight into a breadth of issues – from gender-based violence to disability rights, racial inequality and media frenzy. My hope is that the film gives audiences additional context and layers to a story they think they know.”
The Trials Of Oscar Pistorius joins a number of exceptional sports documentaries on BBC iPlayer, including Lance, about the US cyclist’s dramatic downfall after being exposed in a widespread doping scandal and Oscar-winning films OJ: Made In America, about the famous football and movie star’s dramatic trial for the murder of his ex-wife and When We Were Kings, about the famous Rumble In The Jungle 1974 fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman. Other sports documentaries available to watch on iPlayer include The Two Escobars, Olympic Dreams Of Russian Gold: Over The Limit, Climbing Blind, The Edge, The Australian Dream, Afghan Cricket Club: Out Of The Ashes, Being Evel Knievel, Any One Of Us, The Eagle Huntress, The Toughest Horse Race In The World: Palio, and Maiden: War On The Waves.
Dan McGolpin, controller of BBC iPlayer, says: “This incredible documentary series provides new perspectives on the terrible events of Valentine’s Day 2013, giving us a deeper and closer look at one of the world’s most remarkable sporting figures, on the South Africa that he grew up in and the media circus that surrounded his trial for the murder of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
“It’s essential viewing, and joins an enormously rich collection of sports documentaries now streaming on BBC iPlayer, including the recently added Lance, as well as Oscar-winning films like When We Were Kings and OJ: Made in America.”
The Trials Of Oscar Pistorius comes to BBC iPlayer on Saturday 7 November and will be broadcast on BBC Two at a later date.