England 0-1 Scotland (partially found footage of international football match; 1938)

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One of the BBC television cameras being pointed towards the pitch.

Status: Partially Found

On April 9th, 1938, England and Scotland competed at Wembley Stadium in the final match of the 1937–1938 British Home Championship, in front of an attendance of 93,267. While the match is already notable for continuing the oldest rivalry in football history, it also played a part in television history too.[1] Not only was it the first televised international football match, broadcast live on BBC television, it was also the first televised match to be shown in full.


By the time the match commenced, the 1937–38 British Home Championship had already been decided. England had won the competition, having beaten Ireland 5-1 and then Wales 2-1. In contrast, Scotland had endured a disappointing campaign, losing 2-1 to Wales and drawing 1-1 against Ireland. Thus, with Scotland unable to overcome the three-point deficit due to only two points being awarded for a win, and with Ireland and Wales already playing their three games, England could not be caught heading into the final match of the tournament.[2] Nevertheless, national pride was still at stake with this clash.

Meanwhile, the BBC had been experimenting with showcasing live football matches for its Television Service. England vs Scotland was not the first televised match; in 1937, the BBC showed a few minutes of the 1937 FA Cup Final between Sunderland and Preston North End live, and later that same year broadcast a live match between Arsenal and Arsenal Reserves.[3] Having achieved success with both broadcasts, the BBC decided to experiment with showing full games live, particularly being keen to broadcast the 1938 FA Cup Final in full. Therefore, it negotiated with the Football Association (FA) to receive permission to transmit the game direct from Wembley, as a test broadcast prior to the 1938 FA Cup Final.[4][5]

This was approved by the FA, and as a result, the match made television history. The broadcast filled almost the entirety of the two-hour schedule the BBC allocated Television Service that day.[6] Ultimately, the game itself provided redemption and national pride for Scotland, defeating England 1-0 following a Tommy Walker goal in the sixth minute of play.


Like other early BBC television broadcasts, the England-Scotland match was broadcast live and was not recorded. Therefore, televised footage of the match is most likely permanently missing. A photo of a BBC camera being pointed at the game is all that remains of the near-two-hour broadcast. However, the game itself is not completely missing. Thanks to a British Pathé recording, just under one minute of highlights is publicly accessible, which also features Walker's goal.



British Pathé footage of the match.


See Also

Association Football/Soccer Media

Early BBC Sports Television

Early BBC Television

Early Sports Television Media