The YouTube Files – 30 Years Of Grandstand.

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”). vlcsnap-00905

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. vlcsnap-00910

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. vlcsnap-00900

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. vlcsnap-00904

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? vlcsnap-00661

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. vlcsnap-00907

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.


4 thoughts on “The YouTube Files – 30 Years Of Grandstand.

  1. Michael says:

    I like the BBC Sport ident from 1988 which features the slanted corporate BBC logo with the blue, red and green underlines from 1986 shown before 30 Years of Grandstand from 1988. Very nice.


    • Des Elmes says:

      “30 Years of Grandstand”… well, milestone celebrations aside, it *was* still a regular edition of the show. 😉

      As, indeed, was the 40th anniversary edition on 10 October 1998 (of which there are a fair few clips on YouTube). Des didn’t introduce *that* edition, although he was of course still with the Beeb at that point.

      Back to the 30th, and as Adam says, the atom globe ident had only just been introduced – three weeks before, in fact, when the Seoul Olympics began. Of course, when introduced the globe spun the wrong way round – and it continued to do so well into 1989, as this video of the start of that year’s Cup Final Grandstand (on the 20 May) illustrates:

      With this ident came the Univers Condensed Bold Italic font that would be used in the graphics of all BBC Sport programmes – Grandstand, MOTD, Sportsnight, snooker, horse racing, Grand Prix, Wimbledon, etc. etc. – until Euro 96.

      And although the ident featured the underlined BBC logo, Grandstand continued to use the 1971 non-underlined logo in its copyright strap into 1989 (go to 0:42 in the video below). 😉 I wouldn’t be surprised if – like so many other programmes – it persisted with this logo until the end of ’89, then replaced it with the underlined logo (and, of course, adopted the Futura Condensed Bold Italic font for the year’s Roman numeral) at the start of 1990.


  2. Terry Christie says:

    Leonard Martin,The Famous Voice of The Classified Football Results for Grandstand On Saturday October 11th 1958 for The last 37 Years Until Saturday July 29th 1995.Nightmare Score,East Fife 4 Forfar 5.The Sports News Service-Rugby & Racing Results Read by John Langham.Tim Gudgin Arrived in 1965 at Lime Grove Studios,London.

    The Classified Football Results for Final Score & Grandstand with Len Martin.The Great icon for BBC-tv Sport.

    Terry Christie,


    • Des Elmes says:

      With the greatest of respect, Terry, you don’t have to start virtually *all* your words with a capital letter.

      Looks a Little Odd This Way, Don’t You Think?

      You also don’t have to sign off with your name and location. Making a post on a blog like this one – or on a forum, or YouTube – isn’t *quite* like writing a letter or an email. There’s less of a requirement to be *that* formal and *that* polite. 😉


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