RACING will soon be back on the box – live from Ed Chamberlin’s box room!
The ITV host took part in a rehearsal from home last week as the channel prepares to broadcast the first live sport in Britain in two months.
Ed Chamberlin is looking forward to the return of racing[/caption]
Coronavirus forced the racing industry to shut down in March, but the sport’s chiefs are hopeful of a resumption in the coming weeks.
The practice-run reportedly went smoothly – for all Chamberlin’s spare room is a far cry from the ITV Racing studio.
Chamberlin told Sun Racing: “It’s tiny! It doubles up as a room that the kids use when they have friends round for a sleepover, which obviously won’t be happening for a while.
“Like everybody on their Zoom family quizzes the backdrop becomes very important, so a little bit of the Matt Le Tissier and Southampton memorabilia had to come down and it’s been replaced with some Tiger Roll worship.
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“I’ve presented from all sorts of places, even car parks in the middle of bomb scares, but this is a very new challenge.
“We had a trial run last week and it all went smoothly – none of the kids walked in during their home schooling to ask questions during the broadcast which was a result.
“I’ve got two bright lights, a main camera and a back up camera. I control one of them and the other is controlled at HQ so you can see it spinning round.
“There are wires absolutely everywhere. You have a monitor which is about a second and a half behind what the viewer sees, so that’s where a little bit of skill as a presenter comes in as you are talking over shots that you can’t see yet.
“Talk back is what you rely upon, I can hear the director in my ear, and as long as my broadband holds up it should be OK!”
Racing was suspended in Britain on 17 March, but plans for a return to action are at an advanced stage.
The BHA are aiming to start with a bang, with big races like the Lockinge, Dante and Craven Stakes slated for the final two weekends in May.
And Chamberlin reckons a resumption presents racing with a golden opportunity.
He said: “We have obviously got to wait for the green light from government and the time has got to be right, we have to have public opinion on side.
“But racing is ready to go and ITV Racing is ready to go. I think the BHA have done a great job behind the scenes to get us into this position.
“You can imagine the interest from punters when we start up again and the first couple of weekends, with all that quality condensed into a couple of days, is mouthwatering.
“What a window of opportunity it is for ITV and for racing to really get on the front foot and show off our sport.”
And Chamberlin pointed to the success of behind-closed-doors racing in several other countries during the Covid-19 crisis as cause for optimism.
He continued: “While football will be keeping a close eye on what happens in Germany in the next few weeks, we can already look to Japan, Hong Kong and Australia to show how racing can work behind closed doors.
“We have a precedent that we can point to and say, this is how it can be done and it works.
“I feel desperately sorry for the people who have lost their livelihood and loved ones, and have the utmost respect for the people on the frontlines.
“I remember when we broadcast the racing from Thurles in March and quoting Hugh McIlvanney, who said ‘sport is a magnificent triviality’, and it can be.
“But sport can also bring hope and joy to families up and down the country and racing can be at the forefront of that.”