Grandstand (BBC1, 1988)
A while back I reviewed some sport programmes including Grandstand. Wanting to have another look back at these type of shows, I recently found on YouTube some highlights from the 30th anniversary edition of Grandstand that was shown on BBC1 on 8 October 1988 (the BBC Genome’s entry for this edition is simply “see panel”, and then the panel isn’t there which is rather frustrating).
The time is 12:15pm and Des Lynam (before he cleared off to ITV) is once again about to introduce a busy afternoon of sport action, today is the 1,777th edition. They even made a sign specially and everything! We begin with the BBC Sport symbol that had only just been introduced and would be used until 1992. We then have the original opening sequence from 1958 (“today’s sport as it happens”).
There is then a montage of all the memorable sporting moments that had been shown hundreds of times even then (the 1966 World Cup Final and so on), and all these were probably shown again on the final edition in 2007. Des tells us that Grandstand is the longest-running TV sports programme in the world, and he is very grateful about that. And the idea behind Grandstand hasn’t changed in these 30 years.
This afternoon’s sport (before Sky bought it all off them) includes golf, racing and motor sport. Des then interviews Harry Carpenter who worked on the first edition, and today is at the golf (although I believe that it’s a myth that he was once introduced as “your carpenter is Harry Commentator”). John Motson reviews the week’s European football, and Steve Rider has a motor sport update.
There is also some top racing from Ascot, and as it was on day one, the commentator is Peter O’Sullevan. Now his was a great voice that I remember from coverage on Saturday afternoons for many years, and he is also interviewed by Des about his memories. Shortly after retiring in 1997, O’Sullevan was knighted for his outstanding service to talking very quickly.
Then we have the football results with the vidiprinter. Des remembers the old days when the teleprinter used to rattle them out, but modern technology has now taken over. Pools coupon at the ready. One of the results in Division Two is Blackburn 5 Crystal Palace 4, that sounds like a right old whizz-bang of a humdinger. And then, wait, is Des packing up and going?
No, he’s going over to the other side of the studio to introduce us to some more of the highly professional team, including another who has contributed since day one. It’s Len Martin who is sat in the corner and has all the football results, and still remembers when Tottenham put ten past Everton, you got value for money in those days. Len left Grandstand in 1995.
Des finishes off this special edition by telling us what used to follow Grandstand in its earliest days. Now… who was that man? It was The Lone Ranger, and that show’s theme brings this show to an end instead of the more familiar regular theme. What an entertaining trip back in time. Don’t forget that there are golf highlights on BBC2 at 12:35am.