Rovers return for TV documentary

The sport of Rugby League gets another run out on BBC1 Yorkshire next Monday November 22 (7.30pm) as part of the Inside Out regional documentary series.

Presented by Radio 5Live’s George Riley, the half hour programme will revisit “The Game That Got Away” which profiled the state of Rugby League in 1969 and the on and off-field fortunes of Featherstone Rovers.

The original producer Roger Mills is interviewed along with many of those involved in the original broadcast including Ken Greatorex, Mal Dixon and Jimmy Thompson.

Whilst putting together a programme about the late Eddie Waring, a team of BBC researchers happened upon some rare footage of a game played in the late 60s between Featherstone Rovers and Oldham.

The footage featured action from the game, but there were some fascinating sequences featuring coach Laurie Gant and the players off the pitch. It’s a fascinating insight into the way the game was played and coached forty years ago.

Gant was an innovative coach for his time using film in the days before video to analyse performance and he coached Rovers to their first Challenge Cup victory captained by Malcolm Dixon, and with Ken Greatorex in the team.

The film also features Rovers’ greats Jimmy Thompson and Vince Farrar, who went on to Championship glory in the following decade.

The researchers contacted Rovers to identify the players in the footage. The result was that Dixon, Farrar, Thompson and Greatorex were invited to see the footage and discuss it and compare their experiences with the way the game is played today. The result was fascinating, and resulted in an episode of the BBC regional programme ‘Inside Out’.

“The Game That Got Away” was shown on BBC4 earlier this year and there will be a link to view this classic Rugby League documentary online on the Inside Out webpage after the broadcast.

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