Saturation coverage for first Channel 4 National

Miranda Hart - tipster to Alan Carr

Miranda Hart - tipster to Alan Carr

Channel 4 is doing all it can to ensure that viewers know it is showing the Grand National on Saturday rather than the BBC. Tonight and tomorrow evening it broadcasts more mainstream spin off programmes, beginning with a two-part Come Dine With Me Grand national special at 5.15pm.

The programme features Channel 4 racing presenter Emma Spencer competing with jockey Mattie Batchelor (soup on his menu?), and owner Sally Rowley-Williams. Ex-footballer turned trainer Mick Quinn makes up the foursome, hosting an evening to celebrate Liverpool. They’ll be eating scouse, then.

Batchelor said he enjoyed taking part in the programme, but was not allowed to say where he had finished, beyond that it was in the first four. He said, “Hopefully it will make entertaining viewing because we all had a lot of fun doing it.” At the end of tomorrow’s programme we’ll find out which combination of food and entertainment the contestants scored most highly, with the winner’s £1,000 going to charity.

Also tomorrow night, at 8.00pm the station clears the decks for two hours of special National related programmes. First up is How To Win The Grand National. This is presented a Mark Evans, a veterinary expert. With the help of a host of National winning jockeys and trainers, including Tony McCoy, Richard Pitman, Bob Champion, Martin Pipe and Rebecca Curtis, the programme sets out to examine scientific formulas behind equine victories.

That’s followed by an hour of Alan Carr’s Grand National Spectacular, which will no doubt have tips for the big race from celebrity guests Miranda Hart, James Nesbitt, Jonathan Ross and Madness.

If that isn’t enough, don’t turn over after The Morning Line on Saturday. You can watch a special Saturday Brunch right through until the racing coverage starts at 1.00pm. That’s seven and a half hours of Grand National related programmes before the racing on Saturday, as well as two afternoons of racing from Aintree today and tomorrow.

Last year’s Grand National winning jockey Daryl Jacob said: “It’s brilliant Channel 4 is determined to take racing to the masses. My sport is truly privileged to have a broadcaster that shows such commitment and I know their National coverage will be top class.”

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