Clare Balding in 2005
Clare Victoria Balding
29 January 1971
|Alma mater||Newnham College, Cambridge|
|Occupation||Television and radio presenter, journalist, former jockey|
Clare Victoria Balding ) is an English broadcaster, journalist, and author. She currently presents for BBC Sport, Channel 4, BT Sport, is the current president of the Rugby Football League (RFL) and formerly presented the religious programme Good Morning Sunday on BBC Radio 2.(born 29 January 1971
Early life and family
Balding was educated at Downe House in Berkshire, where she was Head Girl and a contemporary of comedian Miranda Hart. Hart and Balding are in fact tenth-cousins, sharing a nine-times-great-grandfather in Sir William Leveson-Gower, 4th Baronet.
Clare Balding applied to read law at Christ's College, Cambridge, but failed her interview and realised that law was not what she most wanted to do. She later successfully applied to Newnham College, Cambridge, and read English. While at university she was President of the Cambridge Union Society in Easter 1992 and graduated in 1993 with a 2:1 honours degree.
From 1988 to 1993, Balding was a leading amateur flat jockey and Champion Lady Rider in 1990. Her memoir My Animals and Other Family documents her life growing up in a racing yard. It won the National Book Awards "Autobiography of the Year" in 2012.
Clare Balding has close family links to horse racing: her father, Ian Balding, trained Mill Reef, 1971 winner of The Derby, Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe and King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes; and her younger brother, Andrew Balding, trained Casual Look, the winner of the 2003 Epsom Oaks. The latter win led to a very emotional post-race interview with her brother. Her uncle Toby Balding trained winners in the Grand National, Cheltenham Gold Cup and Champion Hurdle. Furthermore, her maternal grandfather was the trainer Peter Hastings-Bass and her maternal uncle the 17th Earl of Huntingdon was once trainer to Queen Elizabeth II. Her maternal grandmother, Priscilla Hastings, is descended from the Earls of Derby and was one of the first women elected to membership of the Jockey Club.
Balding's well-documented aristocratic lineage on her mother's side can be seen in records that TheGenealogist has identified in research. Researchers found Balding's maternal line reveals that she is the great-granddaughter of Sir Malcolm Bullock whose sexuality was investigated in her episode of the Who Do You Think You Are? programme first broadcast in July 2017. Balding's paternal grandfather Gerald Barnard Balding Sr, was a 10-goal polo player who travelled to play polo in America in the 1920s when he was in his 20s. Outbound passenger lists on a genealogy website include Balding's grandfather and it was at this time that Gerald Balding Sr met and later married the American heiress, Eleanor Hoagland.
Clare became a trainee with BBC National Radio in 1994, working on 5 Live, Radio 1 (presenting the sport on the Chris Evans Breakfast Show), Radio 2 and Radio 4. In June 1995, she made her debut as a television presenter, introducing highlights of Royal Ascot. The following year she began presenting live, and in December 1997 she became the BBC's lead horse racing presenter after the retirement of Julian Wilson, and has fronted coverage of the Grand National, infamously humiliating Liam Treadwell, Grand National winner 2009.
Balding has reported from six Olympic Games, for BBC Radio in Atlanta and for BBC Television in Sydney, Athens, Beijing, London and Rio de Janeiro. She has presented four Paralympic Games, the Winter Olympics from Salt Lake City, Turin, Vancouver and Sochi as well as the Commonwealth Games from Melbourne, Delhi and Glasgow. She was the face of the BBC's rugby league coverage, having presented Grandstand from a Rugby League Challenge Cup semi-final, and having been so impressed by the vibrancy and physical challenge of the sport she asked to cover further rugby league events. She was the last person to present Sunday Grandstand.
She also presents the Lord Mayor's Show as well as other live events for the BBC, such as Trooping the Colour and New Year's Eve. Clare has presented coverage of Crufts for the BBC from 2004 – 2009 and for Channel 4 since 2013.
She also presents the walking programme Ramblings for BBC Radio 4 where she walks and talks with one or more devotees of a particular route, area or activity and has, for example, walked sections of the Lyke Wake Walk and Dales Way for the programme. Clare worked on 5 Live's Wimbledon coverage from 1995–2014. From 2015 onwards, Balding has presented BBC2's Wimbledon Highlights programme. There has been some criticism of her in this role. She has also presented coverage of The Boat Race for the BBC since 2010, including the first live coverage of the women's Boat Race on the Tideway in 2015.
From February to March 2012 she presented Sport and the British on BBC Radio 4, a thirty-part series looking at the impact of sports on British life.
Balding was a lead presenter on Channel 4's Paralympics TV coverage. In August 2012 it was reported that Balding would be presenting Channel 4's racing coverage, while still retaining an option to work for the BBC on non-racing programmes such as rugby league.
In October 2012, she appeared before an All Party Parliamentary Group on women's sport, with Katherine Grainger, Hope Powell and Tanni Grey-Thompson. "Women having freedom to play sport leads directly to women having political freedom," said Balding. In 2013, to mark the centenary of Emily Wilding Davison's fatal intervention in the 1913 Derby, Balding presented a documentary about Davison for Channel 4 called Secrets of the Suffragettes. Also in 2013, she presented a BBC documentary about the Queen called The Queen – a Passion for Horses. Other factual documentaries for the BBC have included Britain By Bike, Operation Wild, and Britain's Hidden Heritage.
She has served as one of the presenters on BBC Sports Personality of the Year. Balding was the presenter of Good Morning Sunday on BBC Radio 2 from January 2013 to November 2017; leaving the show due to schedule changes which would not allow her to continue to present the programme and do other work. Balding also presented a Saturday night quiz show for BBC1 called Britain's Brightest, which began in January 2013. She was a senior presenter on Channel 4 Racing, from 2013 to 2016, predominantly fronting coverage of major festivals such as Cheltenham and Royal Ascot.
Balding currently hosts her own sports chat show called The Clare Balding Show, which airs on BT Sport and BBC Two. Guests so far have included Lewis Hamilton, Tom Daley, Mike Tyson, Martina Navratilova, Frankie Dettori, Judy Murray and Ronnie O'Sullivan.
She signed a deal with Viking Press to write an autobiography entitled My Animals and Other Family, which was published in September 2012. My Animals and Other Family reached Number One in The Sunday Times Bestseller list and has been translated into Italian, Mandarin and Hungarian. Her second book, Walking Home: My Family and other Ramblings, was published in September 2014.
Balding was involved in a copy-control controversy in 2017, when it was alleged that she or her agent rewrote part of an interview that she gave to Saga magazine, provoking the journalist Ginny Dougary to remove her byline from the interview. According to Dougary, Balding removed sections of the text and inserted promotional material about her new book, as well as details of her hosting of the women's European football championships and the words "And indeed she [Balding] sparkles all the way through the photo shoot," despite Dougary commenting that this was not the case and that Balding was rather "a brisk, jolly-hockey-sticks type". In a statement, Saga claimed that it had not given Balding copy control and that the interview was edited in conjunction with the author.
Awards and assessment
Balding was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2013 Birthday Honours for services to broadcasting and journalism. In the same year, Balding was presented with the special BAFTA for her work on the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.
Balding won the Royal Television Society's "Sports Presenter of the Year" in 2003 and "Presenter" in 2012. Also in 2003, she won the "Racing Journalist of the Year Award" and has followed up with the award for "Racing Broadcaster of the Year".
In February 2013 she was assessed as being one of the 100 most powerful women in the UK by Woman's Hour on BBC Radio 4. and also won the award for Sports Presenter at the Television and Radio Industries Club Awards.
Her other awards include Attitude Awards TV Personality of the Year 2012, TRIC Sports Presenter of the Year 2013, British Equestrian Federation Outstanding Journalist of the Year 2014, First Women Awards Lifetime Achievement 2015 and Tatler magazines and the Horserace Writers' Association.
Balding formalised her relationship with Alice Arnold, then a BBC Radio 4 continuity announcer and newsreader, in September 2006 by entering into a civil partnership. The couple lived with their Tibetan terrier, Archie. In April 2015, she and Arnold married in a private ceremony.
On 29 May 2009, Balding announced that she had thyroid cancer. She promised to be back on television covering the Epsom Derby, by the following Saturday. On 21 August 2009, she announced that the radioactive iodine had been successful with no signs of the cancer having spread.
In July 2010, Balding made a complaint to the Press Complaints Commission over an article by writer A. A. Gill in The Sunday Times that she felt had mocked her sexuality and appearance and for which the newspaper refused to apologise. The PCC found in her favour, judging that Gill had "refer[red] to the complainant's sexuality in a demeaning and gratuitous way". In 2014, she was named in the top 10 on the World Pride Power list.
After Liam Treadwell's Grand National victory on 4 April 2009, Balding interviewed him and made fun of his apparently bad teeth. Balding later clarified on BBC's Have I Got News For You quiz that she believed Treadwell, who suffered from microdontia and hypodontia, to have had his teeth "kicked out" by a horse, a common injury suffered by jockeys, apologising again for her error. However, Treadwell stated that he was pleased with her comment, as a dentist offered to fix his teeth at no cost. "It was the best thing Clare ever said", Treadwell said.
In 2014, Balding publicly backed Hacked Off and its campaign towards UK press self-regulation by "safeguarding the press from political interference while also giving vital protection to the vulnerable."
Balding's matrilineal great-great-grandparents Edward Stanley, 17th Earl of Derby and Lady Alice Montagu both descended from Henry VII. The earl's lineage can also be traced back to Sir Thomas Frankland. This makes Balding an 11-times-great-granddaughter of Oliver Cromwell.
|Ancestors of Clare Balding|
Balding has been a presenter on Sport Relief since its inception in 2002. She also participated in a celebrity edition of The Apprentice to raise money for charity. Sport Relief Does The Apprentice is part of the BBC's annual charity initiative and aired on 12 and 14 March 2008. "The Girls' team", which also included Louise Redknapp, Jacqueline Gold, Kirstie Allsopp and Lisa Snowdon, won the contest, raising over £400,000 from ticket sales and sales on the night of the big event at their shop.
She is also patron to a number of other charities including Riding for the Disabled, British Paralympic Association, Diversity Role Models, Retraining of Racehorses and the Jane Tomlinson Appeal. Plus she is Vice-Patron for Injured Jockeys Fund and Helen Rollason Cancer Care.
After fronting the BBC coverage of the sport for several years, Balding was appointed as the 30th president of the Rugby Football League in July 2020 succeeding former footballer Tony Adams. Balding has stated that during her two-year tenure she wants to see the women's game become a professional sport.
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- Miranda BBC Two, November 2010
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- Britain by Bike – The Cotswolds BBC Four
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- Ingle, Sean (12 March 2013). "Clare Balding shines as new Channel 4 anchor at Cheltenham Festival". Guardian UK. London. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
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- Alison Flood (5 December 2012). "EL James comes out on top at National Book awards". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 5 December 2012.
- Frost, Vicky (7 December 2012). "Clare Balding honoured at Women in Film and Television awards". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 3 February 2013.
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- France, Louise (10 December 2006). "One year of being Mr and Mr". The Observer. London. Retrieved 19 November 2011.
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- "Clare Balding marries Alice Arnold – hellomagazine.com". hellomagazine.com. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
- "Clare Balding makes Sunday Times sex jibe complaint". BBC News. 30 July 2010. Retrieved 30 July 2010.
- Caroline Davies Clare Balding complains to press watchdog over 'dyke' jibe, The Guardian, 30 July 2010
- Clare Balding complaint over sexuality is upheld BBC News, 17 September 2010; Retrieved 17 September 2010
- "World Pride Power List 2014". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 8 February 2015.
- "Jockey on Balding teeth joke". BBC News. 6 April 2009. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- White, Jim (23 April 2009). "Clare Balding's jibe at Liam Treadwell's teeth pays off". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 3 December 2019.
- Szalai, Georg (18 March 2014). "Benedict Cumberbatch, Alfonso Cuaron, Maggie Smith Back U.K. Press Regulation". The Hollywood Reporter.
- Burrell, Ian (18 March 2014). "Campaign group Hacked Off urge newspaper industry to back the Royal Charter on press freedom". The Independent. London.
-  Archived 19 March 2014 at the Wayback Machine
- "Clare Balding". Who Do You Think You Are?. Series 14. Episode 3. 20 July 2017. BBC Television. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
- "Clare Balding to appear in Sport Relief Does The Apprentice for charity", Charities Aid Foundation, 28 February 2008; Retrieved 29 February 2008
- Patrons Archived 5 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine British Thyroid Foundation
- Southampton FC (2 October 2015). "Clare Balding visits Saints Foundation". Retrieved 5 November 2017 – via YouTube.
- "New RFL president Clare Balding wants women's game to become professional". The Guardian. 16 July 2020. Retrieved 17 October 2020.
- Tomas, Fiona (16 July 2020). "New RFL president Clare Balding vows to 'do something special' for women's rugby league". The Telegraph. Retrieved 17 October 2020.
- Official website
- Biography of Clare Balding BBC Press Office
- Clare Balding Profile Speaker Agency Profile
- Clare Balding at IMDb
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