Guest Lists

Clare Balding

Clare is a leading British broadcaster and journalist, the Queen of Crufts who is often found hosting all things sports on the BBC and Channel 4. She has helmed the Olympic and Paralympics coverage, and aces Wimbledon every summer. If that weren’t impressive enough, she’s also a best-selling author, campaigner for better coverage of women’s sport, and host to both her own Dogcast podcast and Ramblings for BBC Sounds. Clare’s latest book, Heroic Animals, has just been published and is available to buy here.

In today’s Must List Clare selects five shows which suit her love of sports and the great outdoors down to a T.

1 Season Netflix 7 x 60 mins
Is chess a sport or a game? Whichever, it is a fine backdrop for a compelling drama. I watched the seven episodes of the first series in under a week, grateful that we are now allowed to have such complex female leading characters. Like Villeneuve in Killing Eve, Beth Harmon (played by Anya Taylor-Joy) is clever, competitive, obsessive, impeccably dressed and fundamentally flawed. She's not a psychopath but she has issues. It was gripping.
Score: 9.0
16 Seasons BBC iPlayer 182 x 60 mins
Made by the BBC's Natural History Unit, every episode is a thing of beauty. There is so much planning and wisdom that goes into the making of each show and then there is the added uncertainty of it being presented live. I have so much admiration for Chris Packham in particular. His brain is an encyclopedia of information about wildlife, flora and fauna and he has such an emotive way of putting things across. His closing monologue about a conker in the autumn series of 2020 should win an award and his step-daughter Megan McCubbin is, in my book, newcomer of the year. She's sensational in her own right and a great foil for Chris.
Score: 7.5
1 Season Netflix 1 x 80 mins
Prepare yourself for some uncomfortable home truths from the world's foremost natural historian. This documentary is Sir David's witness statement of how he has seen the world change over the 60 or more years of his broadcasting career. There are some hard-hitting messages but it's fascinating to see his life on camera over such a long period of time and we need to take heed of what he's saying, otherwise there won't be a natural world to discover and celebrate a hundred years from now.
Score: 9.0
1 Season Netflix 1 x 100 mins
This is a stunningly well-made, dramatically shot documentary charting a day in the life of 9 Paralympic athletes from all over the world. I have presented the Paralympics since 2000 in Sydney and have seen a huge change in the coverage but I have never seen a film like this. Tatyana McFadden, who has won 17 medals at Summer and Winter Paralympics for the USA, is one of the featured athletes but also one of the producers. She said: "I really think that this film is going to change the world."
Score: 7.6
1 Season BBC iPlayer 5 x 60 mins
I've just started watching Sir David's new series on the BBC which has been filmed in 31 countries over the course of 4 years. It takes the phenomena that create the energy sources of the world - volcanoes, the sun, the oceans, weather and us - human beings - and analyses their impact. It's fascinating stuff, beautifully shot and with an awful lot of significant information to consider.
Score: 9.2
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