The Boat Race




Aside from the Wimbledon final, the Boat Race is the only afternoon of the year when I cancel all plans in order to stay at home and watch sport. Some may consider two hours of coverage of around a 20-minute race excessive. It is nothing of the sort.

First up are films of the crews in training, combining gruelling race preparation with their demanding academic schedules – an impressive lesson in time management for us all.

Then there’s the foreign takeover of this quintessentially British event to get your head around. One minute Clare Balding is mingling with blazer-clad toffs on the banks of the Thames, the next a brigade of American and antipodean hulks is taking to the water.

Finally, whether it be swimming protesters or collapsing oarsmen, expect the unexpected. Two hours of coverage – but never a dull moment.


Clare Balding presents live coverage of the 160th University Boat Race on the River Thames in London, as Oxford aim to take the spoils for the second year in succession against traditional rivals Cambridge. Thousands of people will line the course of four miles and 374 yards from Putney to Mortlake in what is one of the longest-established events on the British sporting calendar. With commentary by Andrew Cotter and Dan Toploski, and analysis by Matthew Pinsent, Tom James, Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins.