A new generation of equestrian fans will be able to enjoy the thrill of the Accenture Olympia Puissance live during peak-time television in December.
This is the first time in eight years that any equestrian sport has been moved to the BBC’s mainstream schedule and not confined to sports programming. It is 15 years since viewers have been able to watch leading show jumpers attempt the big red wall in real time.
“This is the best news show jumping has had in this country for more than a decade,” said Simon Brooks-Ward, director of the London International Horse Show at Olympia. “The decision was made after Only Fools on Horses engaged the public and caused more interest in the sport. The puissance was chosen because it’s easiest for the public to understand.”
Will Connell, World Class Performance Director at the British Equestrian Federation, concurred.
“Anything that gets equestrian sport on to mainstream TV is great news. Equestrian sport delivers great success for Britain and is worth a lot to the economy,” he said.
“Organisers of shows have done a lot to promote the disciplines, and the eventing success at the World Equestrian Games and in Athens has helped to bring equestrian sport back before the eyes of the public.
“Only Fools on Horses undoubtedly helped — perhaps they’ll attempt bareback puissance next!”
Michael Cole, deputy editor of BBC Grandstand, the usual home of televised equestrian sport, agreed that the sight of celebrities in the saddle proved there is an audience for equestrianism.
He said: “We’re delighted to be able to enhance our existing coverage of Olympia by putting the puissance into this prime slot.”
Olympia runs from 12-18 December, and the puissance will be shown on 15 December at 9pm.
“I just hope the viewing figures are good enough to persuade the BBC other shows are worth covering,” added Mr Brooks-Ward.
For more information visit www.olympiahorseshow.com (tel: 0870 143 2202).