Sport and the British Week Five

Week Five: Sport and Society in Modern Britain

Details of the five programmes to be broadcast 27 February – 2 March

Episode 21. War Games, 27 February  

Clare Balding visits the Imperial War Museum in London to examine the role played by sport during the two World Wars, both on the battlefield and the home front. With the help of Professor Tony Collins and Professor Tony Mason of De Montfort University, she learns how football became an essential part of military life, helping to alleviate the boredom, boost morale and provide welcome distraction from the horrors of war.

Episode 22. Broadcasting to the Nation, 28 February

The origins of sports broadcasting can be traced back to the 1920s, when the first live radio coverage was transmitted from Twickenham. In this programme, Clare Balding investigates the effect of broadcasting on British sport, revealing how radio schedules began to determine the popularity of certain events, and how commentator-friendly sports were brought to the fore.

Episode 23. Driving Innovation, 29 February

Clare Balding heads to Silverstone to investigate the role British drivers and engineers have played in the development of motor sports – and also learns how the first 120mph badge was awarded to a Mrs EM Thomas at Brooklands in 1928.

Episode 24. The Indian Summer of the Amateur Gentleman, 1 March

As recently as the 1960s, cricket made a distinction between ‘gentlemen’ (amateurs) and ‘players’ (professionals), providing different dressing rooms for each and even representing them differently on the scorecard. In this programme, Clare Balding visits Lord's cricket ground to explore – with the help of DMU’s Dr Dilwyn Porter – how the 1960s marked the beginning of a new, more egalitarian era for the sport.

Episode 25. Beating us at our own game, 2 March

As the home of football, and the country that codified the rules of the modern game, England has high expectations for its national team and, perhaps, misplaced confidence in its place in the world’s footballing hierarchy. In this programme, Clare Balding and DMU’s Professor Tony Mason look at England’s relationship with FIFA, the nation’s shock when it was trounced, twice, by Hungary in 1953, the national relief when it all came good in 1966, and the 64 million dollar question: will a British team win the World Cup again?

Details of previously broadcast episodes

Week One: The Birth of Modern Sport in 18th Century England
Broadcast 30 January - 3 February 2012

Week Two: Victorian sporting values and the role of Britain’s public schools
Broadcast 6 - 10 February 2012 

Week Three: The advent of professionalism and modern spectator sport
Broadcast 13-17 February 2012

Week Four: The National Cultures of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales Broadcast 20-24 February 2012

Motor Racing

Sports historians from DMU’s International Centre for Sports History and Culture (ICSHC) have been working on the scripts with the BBC for more than three years. Learn more about our historians

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Sport and the British has been produced by the BBC as part of its programme of events in the run-up to the 2012 London Olympics. The production team at BBC Birmingham comprises Lucy Lunt, Sara Conkey and Garth Brameld.

Clare Balding

Clare Balding talked about life, sport and her new series on BBC Radio 4 at a special event at DMU.

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