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Clare Balding on joining BBC: 'I wanted to have an impact'

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Clare Balding has said that she wanted to have an impact when she joined the BBC.

The broadcaster became a trainee with the broadcaster in 1994 and is now one of its most well-known sports presenters.

Clare Balding

© BBC / Michael Blann



"I wanted to change the way people think - to have an impact," Balding told Reader's Digest

"Then I met [BBC horse riding correspondent] Cornelius Lysaght and he said, 'Would you like to come for a voice test for radio?'

"I'd done a lot of debating, but I hadn't thought of radio as a medium for me, and there weren't many women in sports broadcasting at the time. But I was very naïve. I'm not sure I even realised that I was doing something unusual."

Clare Balding

© PA Images



She added: "I freelanced for Cornelius for what was Radio 5 then. It became 5 Live on April 1, 1994, and I started as a trainee that day.

"They were looking to make a new kind of sports reporter to suit 5 Live, so they put me on the traineeship to try and achieve that; I don't know whether they succeeded!"

Balding continued: "They got me presenting football, rugby - everything.
Reader's Digest: Jessica Ennis

"My first broadcast was from Highbury; Arsenal were parading in 1994 when they won the [Cup] Winners' Cup. I did vox pops in the street.

"It was a very alien environment for me; I didn't know much about football or Arsenal. But I loved people's passion for the club. I thought, 'This really matters to people'."

The full interview with Clare Balding appears in the February issue of Reader's Digest, out January 22.

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