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England’s 2003 Rugby World Cup winning team head behind bars for new ITV1 series Grand Slammers

Two decades on from their triumph, nine members of England's 2003 Rugby team, will enter HMP The Mount prison for a unique challenge.

Announced today at the Edinburgh Television Festival, ITV1 is reuniting nine members of England’s 2003 Rugby World Cup winning team for a new two-part series, Grand Slammers.

England Rugby World Cup-winning legends Captain Martin Johnson, Jonny Wilkinson, Lawrence Dallaglio, Phil Vickery, Jason Robinson, Will Greenwood, Ben Cohen, Mike Tindall and Matt Dawson are going behind bars to face a unique challenge, in a new two-part series, which will land during this year’s Rugby World Cup, with the tournament also to be shown exclusively on ITV.

Together as part of their best-ever team, they tasted glory in their country’s finest moment on a rugby pitch and now, this group of legends who made such an unforgettable contribution to England’s sporting history are back together... only this time it's different.

Twenty years after they led England to victory in that unforgettable final in Sydney against Australia, members of the team are going behind bars to face a unique challenge, in a new two-part series, which will land during this year’s Rugby World Cup, with the tournament also to be shown exclusively on ITV.

Grand Slammers will see the sporting heroes enter HMP The Mount prison – home to one of the only remaining rugby pitches inside an adult male English prison, to attempt to build and train a team of inmates strong enough to compete against a formidable rival, the Australians.

The two-part series promises to offer a vivid insight into the power sport has to change lives as the England legends open up to inmates about how rugby had a profound impact on them during formative periods and gave them a purpose in life.

The legends experience clashes, and confrontations as well as offer encouragement about how the sport could make a difference for each inmate, as they show their charges the spirit of rugby and its broad appeal with all the camaraderie, intensity, emotion, buzz and laughter that comes with being part of a team focused on a common goal, beating the Aussies…

The finale of the two episodes will see our legends play alongside the inmates they’ve trained to recreate the historic Rugby World Cup final from 20 years ago…this time against a team of ex-pat Australian rugby players.

In response to statistics which show that a staggering 50 per cent of all prisoners re-offend within 12 months of release, Grand Slammers will explore how channelling their energy into team sport can have a positive effect on the lives of prisoners whilst also lowering their chances of reoffending post-release.

ITV has stressed that this entire project would not be possible without the support from HMP The Mount’s governor, John Gormley as well as the Ministry of Justice.

Grand Slammers has been commissioned by ITV's Head of Development, Factual Entertainment, Kate Teckman who speaking about the project said "In this new series we’ll see some of the greatest sporting heroes England has ever produced reunite on the pitch for the first time in 20 years to go into a prison and build a rugby a team with men who live their lives behind bars."

"For some of these England legends, rugby presented a positive pathway and an opportunity to fulfil their potential. So, with re-offending rates from ex-prisoners at an alarming level, these World Cup winners are engaging with young men who've made big mistakes to show them how the game they love can offer the possibility of taking positive steps to move forward."

"At a moment when rugby will be in the spotlight, during this autumn’s Rugby World Cup, Grand Slammers will provide a revealing insight into both England's legends and the power of the sport that has defined so much of their lives."

Grand Slammers was developed by Matt Winter and Executive Producers for Remarkable Factual are Helen Simpson, Tim Allsop, Jo Smith and Kitty Walshe.

Grand Slammers will air this autumn on ITV1


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