Channel 4 gallops ahead with Grand National ad

Bare knuckle fighting, charging horses, 18th century costumes: no, we're not talking about our annual summer party - it's the new campaign for this year's Crabbie's Grand National.
 

grand national channel 4


From 4Creative, the team behind Channel 4's Live from Space and the Sochi gay rights campaign, the trail is set in 1752 when it's believed the first ever steeplechase took place. Cut to a thumping punk soundtrack, the ad shows the rivalry of Cornelius O'Callaghan and Edmund Black, who went on to race four miles in Ireland.

Directed by Keith McCarthy, the promo took five days to shoot and used locations such as Ulster Folk & Transport Museum, which was dressed to look like an 18th century village. For its woodland and field scenes, where the frantic race occurs between the two rivals, producers used Castle Ward in Downpatrick, Northern Ireland.
 

grand national channel 4
 

channel 4 grand national


To help achieve the realistic look of the chase, which features two horses jumping over barrels and burning haystacks, the production team turned to equine stunt specialist The Devils Horsemen.

James Walker, Channel 4 head of marketing said: "The Grand National was a great success for us in 2013 and we want to build on The Original Extreme Sport strategy in 2014. Last year we focussed on the 'extreme' by showing a street race in Liverpool and this year we are bringing out the 'original' in a period drama with a twist."

The campaign was produced by Tabby Harris and exec-produced by Shananne Lane, and follows on from Loaf Creative's Grand National campaign earlier in the year.