Grandstand question

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Paul Hayes
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Grandstand question

Post by Paul Hayes »

Hello All.

I know there are a fair few of you around here with knowledge of the history of BBC Sport, and while putting together a documentary for the 60th anniversary of Norwich City's 1959 FA Cup run, I've come across something of a curiosity.

I'm including a comment from the TV reviewer of the local newspaper, the Eastern Daily Press, about the frustration of having to wait all the way until the end of Grandstand to see the highlights film of the semi-final between Norwich and Luton on Saturday the 14th of March 1959.

At first I thought he was being a bit unreasonable as the game kicked off late anyway and wouldn't even have finished until around 5pm. But then while looking on Genome it turns out that actually, what he's referring to is "Evening Grandstand", which was billed as being on from 9.15 to 11.15pm that night.

The thing is, this appears to be the only ever instance of "Evening Grandstand", at least under that title. It's the only result for it on Genome. Does anyone know anything more about this? Was it a (very) short-lived experiment? Norwich City's cup run had certainly caught the national imagination at that time, as a Third Division side getting to the last four (think along the lines of Leicester's league win getting the country behind them in 2016). Could it be that they mounted this entire programme as a one-off to ensure they could get the Norwich highlights on that evening...?

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stearn
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Re: Grandstand question

Post by stearn »

Surely Caversham would be the place to ask for a definitive answer, but there is an article on page 3 of that edition of the Radio Times that states 'this week also presents a special evening edition from 9.15 to 11.15' and these included live athletics direct from Paris, presented by the French Television Service - presumably the reason for the later broadcast.

The article also states that 'A limiting factor when there is more than one event to be transmitted from the North is the existence of only one visual link with London'... 'And this is the essence of his job always - to try to take viewers to the most interesting event at the right time'.

If the 'right time' was missed, but filmed, you have a second bite of the cherry. Would the FA Cup have been prevented from being covered live at that time (the fear of turnstile numbers reducing because of listening in or watching) so only a recorded version shown later would be possible, and happily fitted in with the live athletics making a Evening Grandstand viable?

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Paul Hayes
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Re: Grandstand question

Post by Paul Hayes »

Yes, I had considered asking Caversham, and I may do... But I had sort of promised I'd bothered them for the last time with this programme already, and it's not a *vital* part of the documentary if I can't find out more information. It would just be nice to provide some more context for the link into the TV review.

The FA Cup match certainly wouldn't have been covered live on TV as it was a Saturday afternoon match (the second half was broadcast on radio on the Light Programme).

Thank you for the extra info from the RT - I can't check issues themselves at the moment as they've disappeared from Gateway again. It certainly sounds as if the live athletics may have been the reason for the Evening Grandstand. Just curious that it seems to have been a complete one-off.

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stearn
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Re: Grandstand question

Post by stearn »

Grandstand was still new (it mentions starting September) so perhaps various things were being tried out to see what actually worked. The fact the athletics was live, and a link up with an overseas TV station, clinches, for me at least, the reason for that edition. Perhaps the viewing figures and audience feedback were disappointing and there were not the opportunities for forthcoming link-ups so it could be quietly 'dropped'.

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Paul Hayes
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Re: Grandstand question

Post by Paul Hayes »

Yes, I think you're right. It does at least give me an excuse to include a bit of the original Grandstand theme, anyway! Presuming they used it... I might ask Caversham for the PasB to check.

JezR
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Re: Grandstand question

Post by JezR »

Maybe editorial judgement or the duration of the live athletics & tennis pushed the films right to the end, which the PasB would confirm. Even so, the regular 'Sports Special' for generally 2 highlight films of the day was often not scheduled to start until 22:45 anyway, so it wouldn't necessarily be on especially late. Maybe it was the uncertainty of when this would be shown, meaning sittling through a lot of athletics and tennis that was the key frustration.

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Paul Hayes
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Re: Grandstand question

Post by Paul Hayes »

JezR wrote:Maybe editorial judgement or the duration of the live athletics & tennis pushed the films right to the end, which the PasB would confirm. Even so, the regular 'Sports Special' for generally 2 highlight films of the day was often not scheduled to start until 22:45 anyway, so it wouldn't necessarily be on especially late. Maybe it was the uncertainty of when this would be shown, meaning sittling through a lot of athletics and tennis that was the key frustration.
That's pretty much the thrust of it, yes!

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