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Phil Liggett The Voice of Cycling

Documentary created by Nickolas Bird, Eleanor Sharpe, the filmmakers behind MAMIL (Middle Aged Men In Lycra) written by Eleanor Sharpe.

Australia April 2021 1h 54

The life of legendary television commentator Phil Liggett MBE is inextricably entwined with the history of professional cycling. During a career that has spanned five decades, 15 Olympic games and 47 Tours de France, Phil Liggett has been there for every key moment in cycling over the last half century. The heroic triumphs, the appalling tragedies, the scandals and the controversies; Phil has seen it all, and told us about it with passion, knowledge and his trademark wit. As much as anyone, Phil Liggett has shaped the way the world sees cycling.

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Phil Liggett the Voice of Cycling: the directors statement

Eleanor Sharpe, Nickolas Bird co directors of the film.

Following on from our recent very successful feature documentary, MAMIL: Middle Aged Men in Lycra (2017), we were searching for a new idea for a documentary. One of the key components of MAMIL’s success was having the legendary Phil Liggett provide the narration.
After travelling to London to record the narration, we were impressed by Phil’s presence and the stories he told us. Tentatively, we pitched the idea to Phil of making a feature documentary about his life. And Phil, despite refusing many similar offers over the years, agreed. We had the makings of a film.
Little did we then realize the scope of the adventure upon which we were to embark. We soon discovered that cycling was not Phil’s only love. Phil and his wife Trish are both keen conservationists who are passionate about protecting rhinos from the deadly poaching trade throughout Africa.

We travelled to South Africa documenting the Liggett’s extraordinary fight to protect this endangered species. We followed this up with filming Phil at the 2019 Tour de France and filming Phil and Trish at their home in England. Finally, we spent some time with Phil in Australia, as he commentated on Australian races and continued his conservation work in Australia.
As we were filming, we discovered a very personal story of two people’s lives and their incredible journey together. We feel honoured to have been able to tell the amazing story of Phil and Trish Liggett.
One of the strengths we brought to the film as co-directors, is that we represent the two very different parts of Phil Liggett’s audience. Nickolas Bird is a huge cycling fan who has listened to Phil calling races for decades and is a fan of Phil’s vast knowledge and the way he calls the races. Eleanor Sharpe started watching the Tour de France because she loved hearing Phil Liggett talk about the French chateaus and the scenery... and along the way she accidentally learnt something about cycling.

About Phil Liggett The Voice of Cycling