| DMU logo

BBC Radio 4 – History of British Sport

The International Centre for Sports History and Culture (ICSHC) has been working actively with Lucy Lunt, Senior Producer at BBC Radio 4, who recently produced the major radio history of classical music, to develop a thirty part series on British sport from the eighteenth century to the present.

We are delighted to be working with such a distinguished and experienced programme maker. The series will be developed in 2010/11 for broadcasting in 2012 as a flagship historical series for BBC Radio 4 in the Olympic year and will be part of BBC Radio 4’s wider commitment to bringing new forms of history to the public.

The series will run for 6 weeks with a fifteen minute programme each day from Monday to Friday. Material for the series will be supplied by the members of the Centre, including Professor Emeritus Tony Mason, Professor Matt Taylor, Dr Dilwyn Porter, Dr Neil Carter and Dr Jean Williams. They are joined by Professor Tony Collins, Director of the ICSHC, and Professor Richard Holt who are both co-ordinating the academic contributions for the project. 

'prominence to the history of sport'

We hope to be able to bring much of the excellent work that has been done on the history of sport in Britain in the last generation to a far bigger audience than ever before.  Over seven hours of radio time in the prime outlet for serious public discussion in Britain will give a new prominence to the history of sport and maximise its public impact.

The series will be presented by Clare Balding, well-known on television and radio as a sports presenter, as well as working with Lucy Lunt on the popular ‘ramblings’ series on Radio 4. Clare has been actively involved from the outset in the planning and discussion phase and we are looking forward to sharing ideas and material with her. 

The structure of such a series is a big challenge. How do you make individual programmes that are compelling and enjoyable in their own right whilst fitting the daily parts into the general plan for the week? How do the weeks hang together so that the whole is more than the sum of its parts? How do you bring academic research on class and gender in sport or commercialisation, nationalism and imperialism to an audience which tends to be well-educated but, unlike Radio 5,  may not necessarily be interested in sport? 

Professor Richard Holt, said, “we have gone through numerous drafts and revisions before settling on a detailed synopsis with specific topics allocated to each programme.  The detailed programme schedule will have to remain a secret until the job has been done and the BBC announce the series.

"However, a broad picture is emerging of a mixture of themes and periods, starting with the aristocratic patrons of eighteenth century followed by the world of Victorian amateurism and the rise of professional spectator sport. We will also look at national identity within British sport and Britain’s special role in the history of world sport, including FIFA and the Olympic movement, not forgetting the special role of the media in shaping British sport.”


BBC Radio 4

Claire Balding

Learn more 

Related postgraduate study in the Shool of Humanities:

MA Sport, History and Culture
|MA Management, Law and Humanities of Sport|

School of Humanities Events

Latest events in the Faculty of Arts, Design and Humanities

School of Humanities news

Latest news from the Faculty of Arts, Design and Humanities

Call us
Call us

+44 (0)116 2 50 60 70