Sport and the British

Clare Balding presents a 30-part series charting how sport has shaped the British and how Britain has shaped sport

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Clare Balding presents a 30-part series charting how sport has shaped the British and how Britain has shaped sport
🇬🇧 English
last modified
2019-04-03 13:47
last episode published
2014-02-13 00:00
publication frequency
25.69 days
BBC owner  
BBC Radio 4 author  
Number of Episodes
Detail page
Society & Culture Sports & Recreation History



Date Thumb Title & Description Contributors

Rugby's Great Split

As Clare Balding continues to explore the unique relationship Britain has had with sport, in today's programme she tells a tale of lies, witch hunts, bigotry and the north/south divide.This isn't the story of a battle-torn country, but of a civil-war w...
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The State of Play

Clare Balding with Professors Richard Holt, Tony Collins and Mike Cronin explores the cultural importance of the great triviality that is sport. The series was made in partnership with The International Centre for Sports History and Culture at de Montf...
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Clare Balding explores the way global television has changed our relationship with sport forever. It's no longer seasonal and is bankrolled by TV income and it bows to TV's needs. This series was made in partnership with The International Centre for Sp...
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Rugby's Big Bang

Clare Balding explores why Rugby Union tried to stand firm against the encroaching tide of professionalism and in August 1995, lost. One by one the old bastions of the sporting gentleman had fallen in the 1960s and 1970s. Cricket, tennis and athletics ...
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Golden Girls

In the final week of her series exploring how sport made Britain and Britain made sport, Clare Balding looks at the female British athletes of the 1960's who finally took centre stage on the podium and in the press. She visits the home of the Birchfiel...
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Sport for All

Clare Balding asks why and when did the British government get involved in sport. How did sport become part of politics, in a country which had always prided itself on keeping them apart? The Nazis threw immense resources behind the German team for th...
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Beating Us at Our Own Game

Clare Balding takes a look at Britain's most successful export ever - football. Yet in giving it to others, the British lost control of the game they had created and crafted. Clare, with the help of Prof Tony Mason of The International Centre for Sport...
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The Gentleman Amateur

Clare Balding's at Lords Cricket ground in London to explore the demise of the amateur gentleman and the rise of the professional player, as the 1960's saw the beginning of a new, more egalitarian era, in British sport. In all walks of life, Britain's...
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Driving Innovation

Clare Balding continues to explore how Britain shaped sport and sport shaped Britain. Horse racing may be the sport of kings but the princes, playboys and plutocrats of the modern era have preferred motor racing and the British have been at the wheel t...
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Broadcasting to the Nation

Clare Balding discovers how the birth of broadcasting changed British sport for ever. Radio played a crucial role in the popularisation of sport, suddenly you didn't need to be at the event to know exactly what happened or to be swept up in the excitem...
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War Games

Week five of the series that explores how sport made Britain and Britain made sport. In this episode Clare Balding visits The Imperial War Museum to discover the vital role sport has played, both on the battle field and on the home front, during both W...
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Ireland, North of the Border

While sport is endlessly talked of as a force for unity, in today's edition of Sport and the British, Clare Balding's in Belfast on the Falls Road, where it's clear that here sport was just another arena to reinforce divisions that rent the community i...
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Ireland, Politics on the Pitch

Clare Balding visits Croke Park in Dublin, to discover the story behind the formation of the Gaelic Athletic Association and it's founder Michael Cusack. All this week in Sport and the British Clare has been exploring how sport defined and gave an inde...
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Welsh Rugby and its National Heroes

Clare Balding's at Cardiff Arms Park for this edition of the series that explores how sport made Britain and Britain made sport. Here she looks at the vital role rugby has played in shaping Welsh identity; the stadium was built to be an emblem of natio...
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Anyone But England

Clare Balding continues her investigation into how sport shaped Britain and Britain shaped sport. Today we join her at Hampden Park in Glasgow as she explores the part football has played in shaping Scotland's national identity and its changing relatio...
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Cricket and the English Hero

Clare Balding continues her investigation into how sport shaped Britain and Britain shaped sport. In this weeks programmes she looks at how sport unites us all when we get behind out national teams and no more so, than when the character of that team c...
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A Bit of a Flutter

Clare Balding looks at the role gambling has played in our relationship with sport as she continues her exploration into how Britain made sport and sport made Britain. Betting has played a crucial role in the way games developed, it gave incentive to c...
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Women Between the Wars

Clare Balding discovers how working women finally got their sporting chance, through the leisure activities offered by many major employers, at the turn of the twentieth century.The number of female workers in factories, large retailers and service ind...
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Fighting Back

Clare Balding looks at the relationship between boxing and Britain's ethnic minorities.Through the centuries, immigrants have had to literally fight for recognition in Britain and that means with their fists. As Clare continues to explore how sport mad...
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Tennis and Golf in Suburbia

Clare Balding continues to explore the history of sport in Britain and in today's programme visits one of the oldest tennis clubs in the country in Leamington Spa. In Victorian Britain, lawn tennis took off thanks to the growing numbers of a whole new ...
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Exporting Football

Clare Balding charts how Britain spread the passion for football around the world. She particularly looks at South America where the game is central to their way of life. The FIFA World Cup has been staged 19 times and on 9 of those occasions, it has b...
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The Dawn of Professional Football

Clare Balding tells the story of how football went from an amateur pastime to big business and it all started in the Lancashire mill town of Preston. In the season of 1888-89 The Invincibles, as the Preston team were known, were unbeaten in the League ...
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The Formal Empire

In the nineteenth century a quarter of the world's habitable countries were part of the British Empire and if trade was the driving force behind it's expansion, sport was the glue that helped keep it together. CLARE BALDING explains how sport became a ...
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The Corinthian Ideal

Clare Balding examines the era when footballers were expected to be gentlemen,both on and off the pitch. The Football Association founded in 1863 was set up to ensure the boys that had attended the public schools of England could continue to play the g...
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Playing Like Ladies

Clare Balding discovers that the freedoms Victorian public school girls found on the sports field were a precursor to the political and social freedoms that would change British society forever. She visits Cheltenham Ladies College, founded in 1854. H...
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The Making of Men

The Duke of Wellington never said the Battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton but it could be argued that the might of the British Empire was moulded on the pitches of Rugby School. As Clare Balding continues to chart the way the Brit...
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The Unsporting Side of Sport

Clare Balding watches all sections of society gather on Epsom Downs to watch the Derby, the biggest day of the flat racing year. In her exploration of the way Britain has shaped sport and sport has shaped the British, Clare looks at the socially unifyi...
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The Bare Fists of Boxing

Clare Balding explores the way the British have shaped sport and sport has shaped Britain. An ability to box defined the 19th century alpha male. No gloves or weapons, pugilism was pure, painful and deeply patriotic.Even though prize fighting was tech...
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A Level Playing Field

CLARE BALDING explores how the British shaped sport and sport shaped Britain. If the French had played cricket, would they have prevented the revolution? Clare visits Broadhalfpenny Down in Hampshire, the original home of Hambledon Cricket Club, that's...
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The Rise of Olympism

CLARE BALDING charts how Britain has shaped sport and sport has shaped the British.Apart from the English language itself, the invention of modern sport has been our major cultural legacy to the rest of the world.In this thirty part narrative history s...
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