Premier Passions

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Premier Passions was a six-part British documentary TV series, broadcast on BBC One between 24 February and 31 March 1998. It was narrated by actress and Sunderland fan Gina McKee, directed by Newcastle United fan John Alexander and produced by Stephen Lambert.

Television in the United Kingdom started in 1936 as a public service which was free of advertising. Currently, the United Kingdom has a collection of free-to-air, free-to-view and subscription services over a variety of distribution media, through which there are over 480 channels for consumers as well as on-demand content. There are six main channel owners who are responsible for most material viewed. There are 27,000 hours of domestic content produced a year at a cost of £2.6 billion. Since 24 October 2012, all television broadcasts in the United Kingdom have been in a digital format, following the end of analogue transmissions in Northern Ireland. Digital content is delivered via terrestrial, satellite and cable, as well as over IP.

Documentary film nonfictional motion picture

A documentary film is a nonfictional motion picture intended to document reality, primarily for the purposes of instruction, education, or maintaining a historical record. "Documentary" has been described as a "filmmaking practice, a cinematic tradition, and mode of audience reception" that is continually evolving and is without clear boundaries. Documentary films were originally called 'actuality' films and were only a minute or less in length. Over time documentaries have evolved to be longer in length and to include more categories, such as educational, observational, and even 'docufiction'. Documentaries are also educational and often used in schools to teach various principles. Social media platforms such as YouTube, have allowed documentary films to improve the ways the films are distributed and able to educate and broaden the reach of people who receive the information.

BBC One is the first and principal television channel of the British Broadcasting Corporation in the United Kingdom, Isle of Man and Channel Islands. It was launched on 2 November 1936 as the BBC Television Service, and was the world's first regular television service with a high level of image resolution. It was renamed BBC TV in 1960, using this name until the launch of the second BBC channel BBC2 in 1964, whereupon the BBC TV channel became known as BBC1, with the current spelling adopted in 1997.

It chronicled Sunderland A.F.C. during the 1996–97 season, in which the club was relegated from the Premier League, the year after winning promotion from the Football League First Division.

Sunderland A.F.C. Association football club

Sunderland Association Football Club is an English professional football club based in the city of Sunderland, Tyne and Wear. Sunderland play in League One, the third tier of English football. Since its formation in 1879, the club has won six top-flight titles, a total only bettered by five other clubs, and has finished runners-up five times. The club has also won the FA Cup twice and been runners-up twice, as well as winning the FA Community Shield in 1936 and being finalists the following year. Sunderland have also been Football League Cup finalists in 1985 and 2014.

The 1996–97 season was the 117th season of competitive football in England.

Promotion and relegation Process where teams are transferred between divisions

In sports leagues, promotion and relegation is a process where teams are transferred between multiple divisions based on their performance for the completed season. The best-ranked team(s) in the lower division are promoted to the higher division for the next season, and the worst-ranked team(s) in the higher division are relegated to the lower division for the next season. In some leagues, playoffs or qualifying rounds are also used to determine rankings. This process can continue through several levels of divisions, with teams being exchanged between levels 1 and 2, levels 2 and 3, levels 3 and 4, and so on. During the season, teams that are high enough in the league table that they would qualify for promotion are sometimes said to be in the promotion zone, and those at the bottom are in the relegation zone.

The programme gave unprecedented insight into the goings-on in and around a Premier League football team, with the 45-minute episodes following a chronological order, beginning in December 1996 with the club sitting comfortably mid-table and mapping the next five months until relegation on the final day of the season. A constant theme was the club's thwarted search to sign a new striker who might have scored the goals to save the team from relegation. The boardroom was also not out of bounds as the documentary records the club's decision to float on the stock market, as well as meetings and debates regarding the club's move to a new home, the Stadium of Light.

Stadium of Light all-seater football stadium in Sunderland, England and home to Sunderland A.F.C.

The Stadium of Light is an all-seater football stadium in Sunderland, England and the eighth and current home to Sunderland A.F.C. With space for 49,000 spectators, the Stadium of Light is the ninth largest stadium in England. The stadium primarily hosts Sunderland A.F.C. home matches. The stadium was named by chairman Bob Murray to reflect the coal mining heritage of the North East and the former Monkwearmouth Colliery site on which it stands. A Davy lamp monument stands at the entrance to reflect the coal mining industry that brought prosperity to the town.

The most memorable feature of the series was the language used by then-manager Peter Reid and his assistant Bobby Saxton during team-talks, usually at half-time, which were often full of swearing. The show often brought minor local fame to members of staff at the club, arguably most memorably, the then-groundsman Tommy Porter. Four supporters, professing to be lifelong fans, comprising a cross section of the local population, from schoolgirl to painter to lab technician to retailer, also gave insight and reaction to results and club decisions.

Peter Reid English footballer and manager

Peter Reid is an English football manager, pundit and retired player.

Bobby Saxton English association football player and manager

Robert Saxton is an English former professional footballer, manager and coach, now working as a scout for Sunderland.

In several team sports, matches are played in two halves. Half-time is the name given to the interval between the two halves of the match. Typically, after half-time teams swap ends of the field of play, in order to reduce any advantage that may be gained from wind or a slope to the playing surface, for example.

The series was updated with a one-off sequel, Premier Pressure, which aired on BBC One on 5 August 1999, just two days before the club's first Premier League fixture since being relegated in 1997. This documentary, made with a different production team, and featuring the narration of BBC Sport pundit and (notably) former Newcastle United coach Mark Lawrenson, detailed the club's close-season preparations for the start of the new football season, after storming Division One with a record points total in the previous campaign, and the difficult adjustments needed to ensure that the club would avoid a repeat relegation of two years earlier. Again, the opinions of a cross-section of local fans were canvassed, and post-promotion transfer activity (something which hindered Sunderland's 1996-7 season) was probed at great length as the signings of Steve Bould, Thomas Helmer and Stefan Schwarz were discussed. The fall-out of the off-field antics of midfielder Lee Clark, reported in the tabloid press sporting a pro-Newcastle United T-shirt degrading Sunderland and its fans, was also covered, as well as the testimonial of aging midfielder and club stalwart Kevin Ball. The documentary showed the apparent discomfort of supporters at the lack of transfer ambition and the unrest caused by the closing down of the popular local Vaux brewery, which had sponsored the club since 1985, and the search for a subsequent sponsorship deal.

Premier League Association football league in England

The Premier League is the top level of the English football league system. Contested by 20 clubs, it operates on a system of promotion and relegation with the English Football League (EFL).

Mark Thomas Lawrenson is a former Republic of Ireland international footballer who played as a defender for Liverpool, among others, during the 1970s and 1980s. After a short career as a manager, he has since been a radio, television and internet pundit for the BBC, TV3 and Today FM. Born and raised in England, Lawrenson qualified to play for the Republic of Ireland through his grandfather, Thomas Crotty, who was born in Waterford.

Steve Bould English footballer

Stephen Andrew Bould is an English former professional footballer and head coach of U23s Premier League side Arsenal.

See also

<i>An Impossible Job</i> 1st episode of the fifth season of Cutting Edge

Graham Taylor: An Impossible Job is a 1994 British fly-on-the-wall documentary directed and produced by Ken McGill, written by Patrick Collins, and made by Chrysalis for Cutting Edge. The documentary follows the England football team through the 18 months before their failure to qualify for the 1994 FIFA World Cup Finals and showed the pressure manager Graham Taylor was under before his resignation. It was originally broadcast by Channel 4 on 24 January 1994.

<i>Sunderland Til I Die</i> 2018 sports documentary series

Sunderland 'Til I Die is a sports documentary series, released on Netflix on 14 December 2018. The series is produced by Fulwell 73, and documents the events around English football club Sunderland A.F.C. during their 2017–18 season which saw them relegated from the EFL Championship.

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