British horse racing will enjoy a prime-time evening slot on ITV1 and ITVX next year – confirming the growing consumer appetite for sports docuseries. The six-parter focuses on the forthcoming 2023-24 Jumps season proper, and filming begins in December.
The series will be transmitted in late summer 2024. It will tell the stories of lives, journeys, and adventures – both human and equine – which make horse racing so dramatic and compelling. It also focuses on the high levels of welfare applied to racehorses and jockeys. “It will showcase the very best horse racing has to offer to a wider and broader audience, and get behind the scenes of the sport like never before,” ITV declares.
BHA Chief Executive, Julie Harrington, said: “This is an extremely exciting development for the sport. The industry’s strategy is all about reaching new audiences and showing them the brilliance of our sport, while at the same time making racing more interesting and engaging for our current fans.
“There promises to be a little bit of something for everyone in this new programme. We’re proud of our sport and all it stands for, and anything that brings the passion and excitement of racing and the characters who work in it into people’s homes can only be a good thing.”
The Series will be produced by South Shore, and Flutter and Racecourse Media Group (RMG) have supported the project. “However, the emphasis is on the series being a racing-wide collaboration, and many different stakeholders, including the Professional Jockeys’ Association and British Horseracing Authority (BHA), have already lent their invaluable support”, the broadcaster and streamer explains.
Simon Daglish, Deputy Managing Director, Commercial, ITV says: "Racing drives an enormous amount of passion and excitement among ITV viewers, as we know from our unrivalled coverage. This new series is a fantastic chance to build on that excitement and bring this adrenaline-filled sport to a new audience. We are delighted to be working with the racing community to showcase racing in a way that has never been seen before."
Ian Brown, CEO of Flutter UKI adds: “We are hugely excited to be bringing the inner story of horse racing, and all the wonderful people who support it, to a new and broader audience through a prime-time slot on ITV1 and ITVX. We have long supported the horse racing industry in the UK and Ireland and we are committed to working with all racing stakeholders to support and modernise this unique and enthralling sport through initiatives like this brilliant new series.”
The ITV-backed independent production company, South Shore, has a strong track record in unscripted programming and is responsible for sports focussed series that include the BAFTA nominated ‘Freddie Flintoff’s Field of Dreams’ (BBC1). Their credits list also includes ‘The Man Who Bought Cricket’ (Sky Docs) and ‘Football Dreams: The Academy’ (Channel 4).
Photo courtesy of Racecourse Media Group.