One of the oldest rivalries in sport is set to resume on April 7 with the 158th running of the iconic University Boat Race between Oxford and Cambridge, with extensive live coverage on BBC One.
The annual rowing battle along the 4-mile course on London’s River Thames between the competing eights of Oxford and Cambridge universities is one of Britain’s most historic sporting institutions, having first taken place back in 1829 and held every year since 1856.
UPDATE: 2012 Boat Race interrupted by swimmer
An eventful and highly dramatic 158th Boat Race had to be halted midway through because of a swimmer in the River Thames, with Cambridge winning the restarted race.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH VIDEO (via BBC Sport website)
The 158th Boat Race will see oarsmen of six different nationalities competing, as the older and more internationally experienced crew from Oxford take on the younger and heavier Cambridge eight.
Oxford took the honours in last year’s race and boast a superior record in recent times, winning eight races to Cambridge’s four since the turn of the millennium.
Cambridge have weighed in more than 60kg heavier than Oxford for the this year’s race, making the Light Blues favourite for their 81st victory.
Usually a heavier boat has a distinct advantage, though Oxford defied that logic in last year’s race when they secured a comfortable four-length victory over their heavier rivals.CLICK HERE for full details on the 2012 Boat Race crews 157th University Boat Race Pictures: BBC Sport
The Boat Race returned to BBC Television in 2010 after a five-year stint on ITV, with last year’s event pulling impressive figures, peaking with more than seven million viewers.
Clare Balding leads the BBC TV team once again, and she will present from out and about on the towpath amongst the crowds and around the boathouses to bring viewers right to the very heart of the action.
All the excitement and tension leading up to the race will be captured with a 75-minute build-up show, comprising of various behind-the-scenes features, and interviews with various guests who have close associations with the race and the universities.
Due to Andrew Cotter’s commitments with the BBC’s Masters golf coverage on the same weekend, the Boat Race commentary team for this year will be led by Jonathan Legard.
The BBC’s former Formula 1 commentator called his first Boat Race for BBC Radio 5 Live last year and will step up to the TV team for the 2012 edition, where he will be joined in the commentary box by former Oxford rower and coach Dan Topolski.
Further race analysis comes from former Cambridge president Wayne Pommen, who will be based out on the water in a boat travelling alongside the crews to offer a unique perspective on the race.
Also part of the BBC line-up is four-time Olympic gold medallist and 10-time world champion Sir Matthew Pinsent will report on race conditions and technical elements of how the race will be won or lost, while Sonali Shah will provide roving reports and interviews with some of the key figures in the race.
There will also be comprehensive post-race reaction and analysis, including the trophy presentation where Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, will present the prestigious Boat Race trophy to the winning crew.
Coverage will be available in high definition on BBC One HD, and there will be audio commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live.
The race will be streamed live online via the BBC Sport website, and the full BBC programme will be available to watch again after transmission for seven days on the BBC iPlayer.
International viewers in more than 150 countries will be able to watch the race live via the BBC World News channel and BBC America.
The 158th Boat Race 2012 – Saturday 7th April
LIVE on BBC One / BBC One HDBuild-up: 1pm Race Start: 2.15pm