A largely successful Tokyo Olympics had us bathing in the triumphs and glory of sport. But there’s another side to top-class athletes, one which has seen expression with the likes of Naomi Osaka, Simone Biles and Ben Stokes withdrawing from competitions due to mental health pressures. Now comes a five-part sports docuseries that unearths the stories behind some of the most glamorous sports on the planet from tennis to boxing to basketball. Untold brings these to the screen brilliantly.
Episode 1 is Malice at the Palace, which tells how a 2004 basketball game between the Indiana Pacers and the Detroit Pistons at the Palace in Auburn Hills, Michigan went horribly wrong. With a beer can flying through the air and landing on one of the players, the game ended in not just a brawl between players, coaches and spectators, but complete chaos. It still seems shocking today and Untold tells the story in minute detail and reveals the telling responses of the media to the players’ behaviour.
The Guardian’s Rebecca Nicholson rates this episode 5 stars, saying that Untold “uses documentary-making as a thrilling examination of human psychology” and calls it “impeccably structured.” In the Chicago Sun Times Richard Roeper describes the events of that night as “pure madness and there was plenty of blame to go around”. The documentary “does a journalistically sound job of putting events in perspective, with the help of never-before-seen security footage.”
First shown August 2021.