On 3 June 2016, millions of fans around the world mourned the passing of the boxing icon Muhammad Ali. In a touching, insightful and celebratory one-off authored documentary special, Frank Skinner, one of Britain’s best-loved comedians, explores the incredible life of his hero, the world’s greatest boxing champion.
It’s a warm, intimate and moving portrait of this legendary sporting icon, one that gets beneath the skin of the Ali legend and ultimately deepens Frank’s respect and admiration for ‘The Greatest of All Time’, Muhammad Ali.
To discover more about his idol, Frank travels around the UK and US, visiting key locations and people in Ali’s life. In Ali’s hometown of Louisville Kentucky he meets the next-door neighbour who witnessed the teenage boxer’s single-minded dedication to his craft. He meets Ali’s younger brother Rahman, a key figure in the boxer’s entourage and his closest confidante. He meets Ali’s wife Khalilah, who was alongside Ali in the turbulent years when he was banned from boxing for refusing to fight in Vietnam, and saw him become an icon of the civil rights movement.
Frank will delve into some of the lesser-known aspects of Ali’s life: from meeting the bareknuckle boxer from an Oxfordshire council estate who became one of Ali’s dearest friends, to the actor who played alongside Ali in a little-known musical on Broadway.
Frank pays a visit to Ali’s training compound in Deer Lake Pennsylvania, where Ali and his team prepared for one of his most famous fights of all time, the Rumble In The Jungle. From Ali’s Business Manager, Gene Kilroy, Frank learns how Ali’s unshakeable self-confidence and ability to manipulate the crowd were powerful weapons against his opponent, George Foreman. He finds out what it was like behind the scenes in the Ali camp by talking to Ali’s old sparring partner and friend Larry Holmes, who later faced him in the ring.
This documentary special will be more than a profile piece on the greatest sporting hero of the Twentieth Century, it’s also a very personal journey filled with Frank’s own expertise and insight.
From King Bert Productions, the one-off 60 minute film has be produced and directed by Mary Crisp (My Hero: Miranda Hart On Eric Morecambe, Who Do You Think You Are?) and executive produced by Jo Sargent (French and Saunders, Absolutely Fabulous, Miranda).
Frank Skinner On Muhammad Ali airs on Thursday 1 June 2017 from 9.00pm-10.00pm on BBC One.