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Grand National producer given OBE.

Byline: Howard Wright

MARTIN HOPKINS, the driving force behind the BBC's Grand National coverage, has been recognised in the New Year Honours list, writes Howard Wright.

Hopkins, executive producer of Grandstand, has been awarded the OBE for his services to sports broadcasting.

He has been associated with the Aintree spectacular-British TV's most-watched horserace-since 1969, when in his own words he "began as one of the lowest of lowly floor managers".

Of the big four-and-a-half-mile steeplechase, he said: "It's fun, exciting and very rewarding, and it's live, which makes all the difference."

His view was never tested more than in 1997, when he had to give the order to stop broadcasting and evacuate the transmission compound after the security alert which prompted the race's postponement until Monday.

For the last two years, Hopkins has stage-managed BBC2's coverage of the Dubai World Cup.

Also in the New Year Honours list, the Queen Mother's lady in waiting and regular racing companion, Lady Angela Oswald, has been promoted in the Royal Victorian Order-which is the personal gift of the Queen-from lieutenant to commander.

Lady Angela's husband, Sir Michael, retired last year as manager of the Royal studs, but remains the Queen Mother's racing manager.

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Martin Hopkins New Year honour
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Jan 1, 2001
Words:207
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