The Chain

Next weekend sees the start of the Formula 1 season. So for this week’s television presentation gem of the week, I had to feature The Chain. This week there is a campaign to get The Chain to number 1 in the charts for the start of the Formula 1 season.

Here is the title sequence to Grand Prix from 1979, the first Formula 1 season to be broadcast in full by the BBC.

Like many BBC Sport theme tunes, The Chain has gone into legend. Just as Soul Limbo is inextricably linked with cricket, so The Chain goes hand-in-hand with Formula 1. This is despite a 12 year break in which it was never used in ITV’s coverage of the sport.

I fondly remember this 1995 title sequence, which was being used when I was first getting into F1 (unfortunately this is the best quality I could find).

The Chain is one of those elements of Formula 1 broadcasting that have become almost religiously important to many of the sport’s followers. Murray Walker is another.

There is almost a folklore of F1 broadcasting which has made F1 fans particularly protective, and often critical of even the highest quality broadcasting. Commentators James Allen and Jonathan Legard have both learned that to their cost.

When F1 returned to the BBC for the 2009 season, they had no choice but to choose The Chain (albeit with a lot of sound effects added).


  1. Although it’s a bit off topic for this blog, the chain is so inextricably linked with Formula One that Microprose used a thinly veiled version of it in the intro to their first F1 simulation game:

    I must admit, I was shocked when I first heard the full version of the song – it’s 2 minutes before you get to that bass riff!

  2. Thanks for the comment Andy! That PC game intro is great. Looks like they have “taken inspiration” from one of the BBC’s title sequences from the late 1980s / early 1990s too, with the the globe logo appearing on the garage doors.

  3. We can only hope that those whose F1 passion began during the ITV days will eventually forget any association of the pinnacle of motorsport and Bachman-Turner Overdrive 😉