Channel 4 Racing (Channel 4, 1984-2016)
One thing that I like to do on here is find a YouTube video that is rather long and contains lots of consecutive advert breaks to review. I haven’t done one of these pieces for a while, but recently I found something rather interesting. I am not really that huge a fan of horse racing, but I always remember when I was younger on Saturday afternoons my dad and his uncle used to watch the racing on TV, whether it be as part of Grandstand, or on Channel 4 (I’m not old enough to remember The ITV Seven though!).
This means that during the almost 33 years that racing coverage was on Channel 4, I became fairly familiar with some of the presenters including Brough Scott and John McCririck. Recently I found a channel that has been putting lots of full editions of Channel 4 Racing from the 90s on YouTube called “roderigodetriano” (who it seems is the son of one of the commentators). They have uploaded coverage of lots of Grand Nationals and other major races, so I thought that I would pick one out and review some of the adverts that it contained.
Before I start though, I want to make a point about something else. They have also uploaded a few editions of The Morning Line, which was usually shown around 9am and would feature previews of races to be shown later on Channel 4 that day. This show always seemed to feature an advert for Ladbrokes where you could dial an 0898 number and get live horse racing commentary over the phone, which featured Peter O’Sullevan, who was the BBC’s horse racing commentator for many years.
The edition of Channel 4 Racing that I have chosen to review was on shown on 8 June 1996 with the highlight being The Vodafone Derby (thank goodness sponsorship hasn’t begun to interfere with tradition) and plenty of people in top hats. Let’s pick out some of the highlights to determine what kind of adverts would be aimed at a viewer of this grand occasion. Well, first of all, even though this is Channel 4 in the afternoon, you definitely won’t be seeing any adverts for stairlifts during this one.
The first advert in the first break (which is about 42 minutes in) is for Vodafone. An advert for Vodafone during The Vodafone Derby? How suspicious. One of these turns up in almost every break, and they are very similar in style to The X Files which was becoming a big deal around the time. The first one features Jon Pertwee, who had actually died a few weeks earlier.
There is also a hint that the excitement of Euro ’96 is coming with an advert for The Daily Telegraph‘s coverage, which is going to be 10p on Monday. The advert also features a website address, which were beginning an increasingly familiar sight around this time. Later breaks feature adverts for The Times, and the now closed Sunday Business. They’re almost ready for the off now, and another thing that is notable is that there are several car adverts for various makes.
A few other adverts that stood out for me include Apple Tango (continuing with their really bizarre adverts for the time), Jack Dee and his penguins for John Smith’s Bitter, and don’t forget about the Currys sale either. It’s now been almost four hours and we’ve just about reached the finishing line. If you want to know, Shaamit won at 12-1 and got a big trophy.