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29 October 2014
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Silver Jubilee for Ski Sunday

Ski Sunday returns to television screens on Sunday 15 December for its 25th anniversary.

The show will be on the slopes in St Moritz to present the first programme in this new ten programme series.

It will guide viewers through the season taking in World Cup races in Wengen, Schladming and Kitzbuehel to the World Championships in February.

The programme - which will be part of Sunday Grandstand on BBC TWO - will have a different feel to it this year.

As well as coverage of the skiing there will also be weekly diary with Alain Baxter, freestyle sports and updates on competitors' progress on the road to the World Championships in St Anton.

Britain's Alain Baxter exclusively tells Ski Sunday viewers each week what he thinks in his diary.

In this first programme he makes an emotional return to Salt Lake City for his first race since being stripped of his Olympic slalom bronze medal for unwittingly using a banned substance.

Throughout the series Ski Sunday will be following the extreme world of freestyle skiing and snowboarding.

There will be coverage of the prestigious Nokia Air and Style competition and the Burton European Open.

But it won't just be the professionals taking part in these extreme sports.

Ski Sunday has entered BBC commentator and former international skier Graham Bell in a Skier X competition - a fusion of motorcross and downhill skiing!

He will be wearing a microphone and camera so that viewers can get a real feel for this fast and furious sport.

During its 25 years Ski Sunday has had a series presenters and reporters including David Vine, Hazel Irvine, Graham Bell, Matt Chilton and Mary Nightingale.

Notes to Editors

The first programme was introduced by David Vine in 1978 from Wengen

The series was inspired by the audience reaction to Franz Klammer's dramatic downhill gold at the 1976 Innsbruck Olympics

It is the second oldest BBC Sport strand behind Grandstand.

The first programme was the skiing equivalent of a washout with the Wengen downhill cancelled due to high winds.

The second programme produced a rare Downhill dead-heat with joint winners in Kitzbuhel.

David Vine once introduced his producer as his chauffeur in an attempt to secure two hotel rooms - the only problem is they were in Wengen, where no cars are allowed in the resort!

In Val d'Isere the public address was deafening in the commentary box so David Vine reached up and pulled out the wire leading to the loudspeaker. Unfortunately he manage to make every TV monitor, in every commentary box, go black. Luckily a frantic re-connection enabled the world's broadcasters to cover the race.

David Vine was constantly asked if he had skied all the great courses. His stock answer was that he would ski down Kitzbuehel when Harry Carpenter fought Mike Tyson.

David Vine was in the press centre at Lake Placid and greeted by a gentleman who looked at his accreditation and said "Vine, BBC"; the gentleman then reached out to shake David's hand with the words "Ford, President".

Ski Sunday has covered seven Winter Olympic Games and 11 World Championships.

The life of a skiing cameraman is fraught with danger - imagine trying to balance a camera, focus it and ski all at the same time. The biggest fall by a BBC cameraman was 200 feet down the Hannenkahm.

The coldest temperature that the Ski Sunday team has had to work at is minus 27 degrees in Norway whilst the warmest was 25 in Sierra Nevada where the snow was so slushy the women racers refused to ski.

The Ski Sunday theme tune is called Pop Looks Bach and was voted the fifth most popular television theme tune.

There has only ever been one Ski Sunday programme shown on BBC ONE - 6 December 1981 when Klammer's comeback at Val d'Isere was shown that evening.

When Britain's Konrad Bartelski lead in Val Gardena in 1981 at the halfway split time the Ski Sunday team assumed that the timing clock had a fault! They were wrong and he finished an historic second.

The highest ever audience for a programme was seven million for the World Championships in Schladming in 1982.

Ski Sunday has only once been on the cover of the Radio Times in 1982 - with that man Klammer.

Matt Chilton once wrote to Jim’ll Fix It asking to ski the Hannenkahm with Konrad Bartelski. Although he never got a reply he finally achieved his ambition to ski with the Brit when they ended up working together.

The worst Ski Sunday trip has to be to the World Championship in Sestriere when the team had the camera and Julian Tutt's skis stolen, the editor went home with pneumonia and to cap it all their car was clamped on the final day.

One New Year's Eve producer Paul Davies rushed some tapes to Munich airport to send them back to the UK. On leaving the airport he took a wrong turn taking a 400 mile detour and not getting back to the resort until after three am by which time the team had all gone to bed.

The rushes tapes from each show are sent back via courier to the UK. Current series producer Gabrielle Cook was doing her first trip in Val Gardena in 1999 when the tapes were delayed by a fire at Heathrow and never made it in time - the show had to be presented from the studio and a whole week's work wasted.

During the Nagano Olympic Men's Slalom the area was hit by an earthquake measuring 5.6 on the Richter scale - the German skier on the course fell over and was allowed to repeat his run at the end. The BBC team of Julian Tutt and Hazel Irvine carried on regardless.

Graham Bell has been fined for speeding BUT only on the piste when he was clocked doing 70 mph during an inspection run

And finally... commentator Matt Chilton has a cat called Ski Sunday.



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