Grandstand was a British television sport programme. Broadcast between 1958 and 2007, it was one of the BBC’s longest running sports shows, alongside BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
Its first presenter was Peter Dimmock. There were only five main presenters of the programme during its long history: David Coleman (who took over from Dimmock after just three programmes), Frank Bough, Des Lynam and Steve Rider. Changes in the structure of the programme during its last few years, however, meant it did not have a regular main presenter during this time.
Among the more occasional hosts were Alan Weeks, David Icke, Clare Balding, Hazel Irvine, Bob Wilson, David Vine, Barry Davies, Dougie Donnelly, Harry Carpenter, Harry Gration, John Inverdale, Tony Gubba, Helen Rollason, Ray Stubbs and Sue Barker.
The last editions of Grandstand were broadcast over the weekend of 27–28 January 2007.
During the 1950s sports coverage on television in the United Kingdom gradually expanded. The BBC regularly broadcast sports programmes with an outside studio team, occasionally from two or three separate locations. Production assistant Bryan Cowgill put forward a proposal for a programme lasting three hours; one hour dedicated to major events and two hours showing minor events. Outside Broadcast members held a meeting in April 1958 and Cowgill further detailed his plans taking timing and newer technical facilities into consideration. During the development of the programme, problems arose over the proposed schedule which would result in the programme ending at 4:45pm to allow the recreational programme Children’s Hour to broadcast. Paul Fox insisted that the service was broadcast until 5:00pm to ensure a proper results service.
Three weeks before the debut of the programme, sports broadcaster Peter Dimmock favoured naming the show Out and About! with Fox persuading Dimmock to agree on a new name Grandstand. Grandstand launched on 11 October 1958 from Lime Grove Studios with Dimmock as the presenter. Dimmock presented the first two editions and three weeks later, he was replaced by sports commentator David Coleman. In the autumn of 1959, Grandstand was extended by an extra 15 minutes and would finish at 5:00pm every Saturday.
The show was one of the most recognisable on British television, dominating Saturday afternoons on the BBC’s main channel and covering nearly every major sporting event in Britain such as the FA Cup Final, Wimbledon, the Grand National and the University Boat Race, as well as major international events like the Olympic Games, the Paralympic Games, the Commonwealth Games and the FIFA World Cup. A Sunday edition, simply named Sunday Grandstand, launched in 1981 and ran on BBC Two. Until 1997, the Sunday edition was only broadcast during the summer months but from February 1998 Sunday Grandstand aired all year round, incorporating the Ski Sunday and Rugby Special programmes. Grandstand was not shown on 20 May 2000 as no major sporting events broadcast by the BBC were taking place.
Grandstand did not broadcast when a major national event took place or if Christmas or New Year’s Day fell on a Saturday.