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The most captivating new documentaries to add to your watch list

From never-before-seen stories of famous faces to tales of sporting prowess, discover the best documentaries of the year so far

When it comes to the best new documentaries in 2024, we’re spoilt for choice. Almost every month it seems there’s a stellar new doc to tune into, from a behind-the-scenes look at one of the world’s most famous men in Messi’s World Cup on Apple TV+ to Jennifer Lopez’s genre-bending new Amazon Prime release, This Is Me… Now. Here, discover our top picks of the best new celebrity documentaries to add to your watch list. 

Jennifer Lopez: This Is Me… Now

When it comes to 2024’s most exciting new documentaries, this release from Jennifer Lopez has to be right near the top of the list. The 54-year-old has just launched her first studio album in a decade, entitled This Is Me… Now, which coincided with the release of a genre-bending musical film of the same name on Amazon Prime. Directed by Dave Meyers, who’s worked with other pop greats including Janet Jackson, Ariana Grande and Britney Spears, the film is billed as part documentary, part “narrative-driven cinematic odyssey”. Designed to showcase J Lo’s journey to love through her own eyes, it features star-studded cameos from the likes of Sofia Vergara, Trevor Noah and, of course, Ben Affleck. 

Streaming now on Amazon Prime

Messi’s World Cup: The Rise of a Legend

If 2023 was all about the David Beckham documentary, 2024 looks set to be dominated by his pal Lionel Messi. This new docuseries on Apple TV+ gives fans an inside peek at the eight-time Ballon d’Or winner’s journey to World Cup glory, charting his rise from a promising 13-year-old schoolboy all the way through to his big win for Argentina in 2022. The four-part series features interviews with the likes of Gary Lineker and Angel Di Maria, as well as the famously camera-shy Messi himself. Fans of the beautiful game will relish the chance to learn more about the star’s epic journey, and how he came to be known as the greatest footballer of all time. 

Out 21 February on Apple TV+

June

Though June Carter Cash may be best known as the wife of the country legend Johnny Cash, this new documentary focuses on her personal legacy and reveals that she was actually a pioneering artist in her own right. As a member of the Carter family of country singers, June had the privilege of opening for Elvis Presley and also co-write Ring of Fire, one of Cash’s biggest hits, with her husband. Produced by two of her children, the documentary features never-before-seen footage of the singer, as well as interviews with the likes of Dolly Parton and Reese Witherspoon, who won an Academy Award for playing June in the 2006 film Walk the Line.

Streaming now on Paramount+

The Greatest Night in Pop

This new Netflix documentary from director Bao Nguyen (Be Water) tells the story of what really went on during that fateful night in 1985, when 46 of the world’s biggest musical stars gathered in LA to record the hit song, We Are the World. Produced by Quincy Jones and co-written by Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson, the song went on to become the first single to be certified multiplatinum and raised millions of dollars in humanitarian aid for African famine relief. As well as featuring interviews with Richie himself, who executive produced the documentary, the film hears from the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Cyndi Lauper and Dionne Warwick about what it was really like to record one of the world’s most famous songs in just one night. 

Streaming now on Netflix

Coleen Rooney: The Real Wagatha Story

It would seem the Wagatha Christie story is one that just keeps on giving. Following on from Channel 4’s Vardy v Rooney: A Courtroom Drama, this three-part documentary series from Disney+ promises to delve even deeper into the headline-grabbing defamation trial that had the entire nation gripped in 2022. Featuring exclusive access and interviews with Coleen Rooney herself, as well as with family, friends and key players involved in the trial, it promises to lift the lid on what really happened in one of the most talked-about cases of recent years, while also telling Coleen’s fascinating story of a working-class teenager turned mother-of-four and businesswoman.

Out 18 October on Disney+

Beckham

One of the most hotly-anticipated new documentaries 2023 has to be Beckham, Netflix’s inside story on one of the most famous men in the world. Using never-before-seen footage, the four-part docu-series examines how the football star went from his humble working-class beginnings in east London to become a global cultural icon. Along the way you’ll get to hear from some of those closest to David Beckham, including his wife Victoria, his parents and his former teammates. Directed by Academy Award-winner Fisher Stevens, it offers a fascinating new insight into the man himself, as well as the stark reality of celebrity culture.  

Out 4 October on Netflix

The Super Models

For months, The Super Models has been the only fashion television event anyone has been talking about – now the four-part docu-series has finally landed on Apple TV+. Following the careers of Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista and Christy Turlington, this docu-series reveals what it was really like to be a super in the Nineties. Offering unprecedented and exclusive access to the four models, the show takes viewers behind the camera and beyond the catwalk to reveal how these women managed to single-handedly shift the power dynamic of an entire industry.

Streaming now on Apple TV+

The Heart of Invictus

Following on from the success of Harry & Meghan, which became Netflix’s biggest documentary debut ever in terms of viewership when it launched at the end of last year, Heart of Invictus marks the second project from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex as part of their blockbuster deal with the streaming giant. The docu-series centres around Prince Harry’s Invictus Games, which he created for wounded, injured, and sick veterans and members of the armed services, following a group of competitors as they train for the annual sporting event. Focusing on the sportsmen and women rather than the games’ famous founder, it makes for moving viewing. 

Streaming now on Netflix

Wham!

Take a nostalgic trip down memory lane with Wham!, which tells the story of the 80s pop sensation made up of Andrew Ridgeley and the late George Michael. The documentary includes never-before-seen footage of the duo and extensive interviews with Ridgeley himself, charting their meteoric rise to fame. Watch and sing along as they tour around the world with their smash hits singles that include Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, Careless Whisper, Last Christmas and Club Tropicana. Created by the team who brought us Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened, it offers up an unmissable piece of pop music history. 

Streaming now on Netflix

Break Point

Over recent years, Netflix has become known for its stellar sporting documentaries, from The Last Dance, chronicling the rise of Michael Jordan, to the Oscar-winning Icarus. Their latest offering is Break Point, a docu-series that follows up-and-coming tennis hopefuls over one year as they train and compete their way across the globe. Featuring some of the biggest names in the game, including Ons Jabeur, Matteo Berrettini and the controversial Nick Kyrgios, as they compete in Grand Slams during an action-packed schedule, it shows just how brutal the quest is to become the sport’s number one player. 

Streaming now on Netflix

Pamela: A Love Story

When Pamela: A Love Story was first released in January, it quickly became one of the most talked about celebrity documentaries – not least because it followed hot on the heels of the dramatized version of the star’s life, Pam & Tommy, which Anderson admitted she found “crushing”. This Netflix documentary allows her to tell her story in her own words for the first time, in an attempt to take back ownership of her image. Offering up candid insights into her life via footage of her hanging out with her grown-up sons and home videos with her ex-husband Tommy Lee, the result is an intimate portrait on how she went from a small-town girl to become an international sex symbol. 

Streaming now on Netflix

Little Richard: I Am Everything

Since his death in 2020, there has been a spate of documentaries about Little Richard, but this offering from Lisa Cortés is by far the most entertaining. Laying out the history of the early rock ‘n’ roll star’s career and inescapable influence through footage of his performances and speeches, the guest appearances in Little Richard: I Am Everything read like a Who’s Who of musical legends, from Mick Jagger and Nile Rodgers to Paul McCartney. They act as a reminder of just how much subsequent generations of rock stars have owed to Little Richard, a pioneering, genre-defying star who was way ahead of his time.

Available to rent on YouTube

Anna Nicole Smith: You Don’t Know Me

The late model, actress and tabloid figure Anna Nicole Smith has had her fair share of column inches over the years – not to mention a surprising smash hit opera about her life – but this new documentary gives the clearest depiction of her heart-breaking story to date. Using a combination of never-before-seen footage and home movies, it charts her rise from a tough upbringing in smalltown Texas to becoming a Playboy centrefold and Guess Jeans model. Ending with her untimely death of a drug overdose in 2007 at the age of 39 – soon after her 20-year-old son had tragically died the same way – it offers a poignant message on the darker side of fame. 

Streaming now on Netflix

Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie

He was one of the world’s most famous actors, riding high on cloud nine after a string of hit movies – then suddenly, everything changed for the Back to the Future star, when at 29 he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. This documentary by Oscar-winning director Davis Guggenheim, who brought us An Inconvenient Truth and I Am Malala, offers an unflinching portrait on the life of the Hollywood actor, which has been lived in two halves. Through candid – and often very funny – interviews with the star himself to video footage of his career and shots of his close-knit family, the documentary reveals how Fox finally faced up to his diagnosis after years of trying to hide it. 

Streaming now on Apple TV+

If These Walls Could Sing

Who better than Mary McCartney to direct a documentary about the legendary Abbey Road Studios in London, where her father Paul McCartney and the rest of the Beatles famously recorded some of their biggest hits? Taking us through the history of the building itself, which was originally designed to house a symphony orchestra, the film captures the experience of the many music stars who recorded there through archive footage and interviews with the likes of Elton John, Jimmy Page and Noel and Liam Gallagher. Naturally, there’s also plenty of screen time with her dad and his bandmate Ringo Starr, reminiscing about Abbey Road’s 60s heyday.  

Streaming now on Disney+

Invisible Beauty

Bethann Hardison’s documentary about her trailblazing life as a Black model who championed racial diversity in the fashion industry was one of the hottest films at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, and with good reason. Directed by Hardison herself, the film follows her role as a fashion maverick over five decades, using a cache of personal photos, archival images and video clips, as well as Hardison’s own recollections and insights, to tell the story of her extraordinary career. Alongside that you’ll find interviews and commentary from the many models and stars she inspired, including Naomi Campbell, Zendaya and Tracee Ellis Ross. 

Showing in cinemas soon

Sly

The latest in Netflix’s ever-popular roster of celebrity documentaries is Sly, which tells the story of Oscar nominee Sylvester Stallone. Exploring the legacy of Stallone’s 50-year impact on Hollywood, the film is as much about his personal underdog story and career as it is about the characters he’s brought to life over the years, from Rocky to Rambo. Directed by Thom Zimny (The Gift: The Journey of Johnny Cash) with exclusive access to the man himself, viewers can expect a probing retrospective into the career of a living Hollywood legend. 

Streaming from 3 November on Netflix

Robbie Williams

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Robbie Williams’ solo career, so what better time for Netflix to release a documentary all about the pop megastar? The four-part series follows Williams as he leaves Take That and sets out on the path to becoming the most successful UK solo artist of all time. Along the way you’ll get to see hundreds of hours of intimate, never-before-seen personal archive spanning 30 years, charting his rise to fame and stardom (and all the ups, downs, and media scrutiny in between). Helmed by an acclaimed filmmaking team including Asif Kapadia, the man behind the Amy Winehouse documentary, it’s set to be the first series to explore the real human being behind the salacious headlines.

Streaming soon on Netflix

Main image: @davidbeckham
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