In what year was the Grand National first televised?
The Grand National was broadcast by British Pathé News and BBC Radio from the early part of the twentieth century onwards, but not live on BBC Television until March 26, 1960, and not in colour until March 29, 1969. On the first historic occasion, the BBC employed 16 cameras, including the so-called ‘Roving Eye’, a vehicle with a television camera and a telescopic mast mounted on the roof, which allowed pictures and sound to be broadcast, unimpeded, as it pursued the runners around the National Course.
Commentary came from Sir Peter O’Sullevan, Clive Graham and Peter Bromley, who later recalled how unsafe he felt in the huge, swaying tower built in the middle of the course for the occasion. The race was broadcast live, in black-and-white, of course, as part of the ‘Grandstand’ sports programme. A total of 26 runners faced the starter and victory went to the 13/2 favourite, Merryman II, trained by Neville Crump and ridden by 22-year-old Gerry Scott, who had broken his collarbone a fortnight earlier. Eight horses completed the course, with Merryman II coming home 15 lengths clear of his nearest pursuer, Badenloch, with Clear Profit a further 12 lengths behind in third place.