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Sir Ian Botham: The Legend of the 1981 Ashes

Wednesday 27 July, 2320 BST, BBC Two. (Not available on BBC iPlayer)

Sir Ian Botham

Botham: The Legend of '81

It is the most remarkable comeback story in English sporting history, and it all began 30 years ago this summer.

It is the story of a team, so abject they had been written off completely, led by a man so distrusted and ridiculed that he was forced to resign his post for the sake of his family.

Days later, that same man, Ian Botham, produced a 'boys own' performance to inspire his team, England, to beat Australia against 500-1 odds. It was just the start of Botham's Ashes.

Botham: The Legend of '81 tells the simply incredible story of how Ian Botham went from national zero to hero, not once but twice.

As well as the story of that almost unbelievable summer of '81, we hear how the success that followed changed Botham's life, making him, but breaking him at the same time.

Having been reduced to zero once more we see how the anti-establishment Botham unwittingly became a national hero once again, this time through his tireless work to help children suffering with leukaemia.

Featuring contributions from Beefy himself, plus his family, colleagues and eyewitnesses such as Sir Mick Jagger, Sir Viv Richards, Sir John Major, Stephen Fry, Sir Elton John, Bob Willis and David Gower, Botham: The Legend of '81 charts one of English sport's most colourful and controversial careers and tells surely its most enduring comeback story.

Twitter reaction to Botham: The Legend of '81:

Graeme Swann: "The Ian botham thing on tv last night was great. Reminded me of why I fell in love with cricket in the first place."

Darren Gough: "Ian botham legend Loved the programme last night, education for my boys #ashes81"

Stuart Broad: "Watching this Botham program on bbc. I like watching him bat! #gohardorgohome #ifyourgoingtoswingswinghard"

Matt Dawson: "Anyone else got goose bumps after that Botham doc?"

Geoff Thomas: "Just watched the docu about Sir Ian Botham. Great watch."

Dan Walker: "The top Botham doc on BBC2 last night was produced by Stevie Lyle & filmed by Stephen Pook. Credit to the steves for some top telly."


Test Match Special audio highlights from the 1981 Ashes series

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see also
Botham: The Legend of '81
19 Jul 11 |  England
Classic Ashes clashes: Headingley
04 Aug 09 |  England
Sir Mick Jagger lauds 'wild' Botham
19 Jul 11 |  England
Stephen Fry remembers Botham heroics
19 Jul 11 |  England

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