Photograph: Werner Schmidt

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Broadcasting The Boat Race

Tim Koch writes,

Eighty-five years ago, on 2 April, 1927, the BBC broadcast their first Boat Race commentary. Read about it here.

A contemporary edition of the BBC listings magazine, the Radio Times, produced a cod ‘Olde English’ proclamation to mark this technological wonder.

Be it known to His Majesty’s Lieges and all Loyal Listeners that on the Second Day of April in the year of Grace One Thousand Nine Hundred and Twenty Seven a Race in Row-boats will be navigated between Putney Bridge and Mortlake on the River Thames in which eight poor Scholars of Oxford University and a like number of the Clerks of Cambridge will vie with each other in Prowess.

And that all men submissive to Authority may hear the same worthily broadcast; the like of which is a Marvellous Thing and hardly to be believed.

If this is how they reacted to a radio broadcast, I am not sure what they would say to today’s use of twenty-five cameras on land, nine on water, and one in the air sending high definition pictures around the world and with coverage on television, mobile / cell phones and the internet. It is certainly an improvement to the first television coverage in 1938 when there was one camera at the start and one at the finish. The middle of the race was covered by John Snagge’s commentary and a cardboard chart in the studio showing the progress of the two boats.

British viewers can see live coverage of the race from 13.00 on BBC1 and BBC1 HD. BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra’s Boat Race programme starts at 14.00. The BBC website will stream the race as it happens and BBC America and BBC World News will also report live. Other satellite broadcasters are listed on the official Boat Race website. The race starts 14.15 local time, 13.15 Greenwich Mean Time.

For the first time, Cover it Live, will produce Live Text on

Sir Matthew Pinsent’s Guide To The Boat Race course is on the BBC Sport website.

The HTBS Guide To The Boat Race is that it starts here…..

(University Stone)

....goes via here......

(Mile Post)

….. and, 600 strokes and 4 miles 374 yards / 6.8 km later, finishes here…..

(University Post)

What could be easier?

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