Sport and the British Week Two

Week Two: Victorian sporting values and the role of Britain’s public schools

Details of the five programmes to be broadcast 6 – 10 February:

Episode 6. Playing Like Ladies, 6 February

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By the mid to late 19th century, middle-class girls and women had begun to play sport, despite widely-held views that sport and competition were masculine pursuits that had no place in a lady’s life. In this programme, Clare Balding discovers the physical freedom Victorian public school girls found on the sports field was a precursor to the lifting of political and social restraints that were to occur much later. She visits Cheltenham Ladies College, founded in 1854, to learn about the introduction of gymnastics, swimming, hockey and netball.

Episode 7. The Corinthian Ideal, 7 February

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This programme looks at the importance of amateurism in sport, exploring the Corinthian spirit and the amateur ideal. Clare Balding looks at the founding of the Football Association in 1863, which was set up to ensure that boys from Britain's public schools could continue to play the sport in adulthood to an agreed set of rules. She also examines the life of CB Fry, a polymath who could turn his hand to literature, politics and academia, as well as to football and cricket.

Episode 8. The Formal Empire, 8 February

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This programme examines the role of sport as the cultural glue that kept the empire together, looking at the spread of cricket across India, Australia and the West Indies, its rise as the game of the people, and the part played by the sport in defining a nation. Professor Richard Holt of De Montfort University joins Clare Balding to consider how sport was used by Britain to keep a hold over its colonial subjects.

Episode 9. The Dawn of Professional Football, 9 February

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By the late 1870s, football was a hugely popular game, particularly in the West Midlands and the North of England. In this programme, Clare Balding visits Deepdale in Lancashire, home to Preston North End, to find out how local mill manager William Suddell changed the face of football at the end of the 19th century, transforming its fortunes from an amateur pastime to a profitable business and the professional game we know today.

Episode 10. Exporting Football, 10 February

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Clare Balding charts the rise of football as one of the world's favourite sports and considers the role of British engineers, managers and teachers in spreading the game across the British Empire and the rest of the globe. With the help of Professor Emeritus Tony Mason from De Montfort University, Clare looks at the popularity of football in Latin America and discusses Britain’s role in promoting the game in Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil.

Details of previously broadcast episodes

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

Sport and the British - Week Two

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. Listen to our interview with Clare

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