International Centre for
Sports Studies

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Fri. 13 January 2012

BBC Radio 4 – Sport and the British

On the 30th January 2012 the CIES academic partners at the International Centre for Sports History and Culture (ICSHC) at De Montfort University will be launching a major new historical series in partnership with BBC Radio 4 on the history of British sport. Sports historians from the ICSHC have helped the BBC to create the series.

“Sport and the British” will be broadcast as a flagship historical series in 2012 as part of BBC Radio 4’s Olympic schedule and commitment to bringing new forms of history to the public.

Professor Richard Holt, who is also a CIES/FIFA Master Co-Scientific Director said: “We hope to be able to bring much of the excellent work that has been done on the history of sport in Britain in the last generation to a far bigger audience than ever before. Over seven hours of radio time in the prime outlet for serious public discussion in Britain will give a new prominence to the history of sport and maximise its public impact.”

The 30 episode series will be broadcast each weekday for six weeks from the end of January until March. It will look at the vital and unique role that sport has played, and continues to play, in British national life. Themes explored in the series will include the origins of modern sport, the power of sport to unite a nation, the global diffusion of British sport, the rise of women in the world of sport and the relationship between class, race and sport.”

The BBC’s Clare Balding said, “I’m intrigued and fascinated by how this great triviality is so central to our culture. With the help of the academic team at the International Centre for Sports History and Culture at De Montfort University, we are going to discover how and why Great Britain defined sport and sport defined Great Britain.”

In the first episode Clare will look at the birth of the modern Olympic movement by the French nobleman, Pierre de Coubertin, who had been inspired to re-kindle the Olympic flame following a visit to Rugby School. What lessons can be drawn from the games since 1896 and what can they tell us as we approach the London 2012 Games?

The BBC Radio 4 series has been made in partnership with the ICSHC, lead by Prof. Tony Collins, Prof. Richard Holt and Prof. Emeritus Tony Mason. The series is produced by BBC Birmingham by Garth Brameld, Sara Conkey and Lucy Lunt.

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