Sport and the British

Britain’s role as the birthplace of modern sport and the impact of sport on British national life are celebrated in a new BBC audiobook.

The audiobook, Sport and the British: The Landmark Radio 4 Series, comprises the 30 programmes broadcast on Radio 4 between January and March 2012.

Produced by the BBC in partnership with DMU, the series explained how the history of sport in Britain is inextricably linked to the country’s wider national history.

The series – presented by Clare Balding – also considered how modern sport has divided the nation as often as it has united it since its beginnings in the 18th century.

Sports historians from DMU’s International Centre for Sports History and Culture (ICSHC) spent more than three years, working on the scripts with the BBC.

Centre director Professor Tony Collins said: “Sport is an integral part of Britain’s social and cultural life that’s played a key role in shaping the way the world sees us – and we see ourselves.”

Professor Richard Holt – author of the seminal social history of sport in British society, Sport and the British: A Modern History – has also been involved in the project from the start.

“Our goal was to bring the very best historical research to the general public," he said.

"And, thanks to the work of the BBC production team, this series has succeeded in becoming a landmark in sports history broadcasting.”

The programmes can be downloaded as a podcast, while the audiobook is available to buy from the BBC shop.

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

Week Five: Sport and Society in Modern Britain
Broadcast 27 February – 2 March 2012

Week Six: Globalisation and other contemporary themes
Broadcast 5 - 9 March 2012

football player

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

BBC Radio 4 logo

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