C4's Grand National image acquired by The National Portrait Gallery


Channel 4’s portrait of 18 times champion jump jockey AP McCoy has been acquired as part of The National Portrait Gallery’s Permanent Collection.

The AP McCoy portrait, taken by Spencer Murphy, was part of a series of portraits from Channel 4’s Original Extreme Sport marketing campaign used to promote the broadcaster’s first Grand National showcase. The campaign for Channel 4 Racing was created by 4Creative’s Chris Bovill, John Allison, Alice Tonge and Matt Fee and art directed by Alice Tonge.

Spencer Murphy explains: “I submitted the portrait to the National Portrait Gallery and was absolutely delighted that they acquired the AP McCoy image.

“First and foremost, AP’s a formidable character, considered by many to be the greatest jump jockeys of all time with a record shattering number of wins to his name. His portrait exudes defiance and dominance – attributes that have seen him govern British horseracing for nearly two decades. He bears such intense scars yet his bold gaze still confronts the viewer.”

Champion Jockey, AP McCoy, adds: “It’s a real honour that The National Portrait Gallery have acquired my image taken to support Channel 4’s Grand National coverage. I’m particularly delighted that the portrait represents the fantastic partnerships I have been fortunate to have experienced with JP McManus and British horseracing.”


  • The AP McCoy portrait will be held in The National Portraits Gallery’s permanent collection/archive until such a time that they want to use it for a relevant exhibition.
  • To date, nine images by Spencer Murphy have been acquired by The National Portraits Gallery for their permanent collection. His portrait of Channel 4’s Homeland actor Damian Lewis currently hangs in the Gallery as part of their Recent Acquisitions show.

Channel 4 is a publicly-owned, commercially-funded, not-for-profit public service broadcaster and has a remit to be innovative, experimental and distinctive. Its public ownership and not-for-profit status ensure all profit generated by its commercial activity is directly reinvested back into the delivery of its public service remit. As a publisher-broadcaster, Channel 4 is also required to commission UK content from the independent production sector and currently works with over 400 creative companies across the UK every year. In addition to the main Channel 4 service, its portfolio includes: E4, More4, Film4, 4Music, 4seven,, video-on-demand service 4oD and standalone digital projects.

4Creative is Channel 4’s multi-award winning creative agency and was recently named Creative Review’s Ad Agency of the Year.

Headed up by Chris Bovill and John Allison, 4Creative acts as both creative agency and production company across all advertising output for Channel 4 and its family of brands.

In 2012, 4Creative were responsible for the multi-award winning Paralympics campaign ‘Meet the Superhumans’. The 90 second film celebrated the herculean efforts of Paralympians, capturing their grit and determination intercut with an insight into their back-stories – set to the epic Public Enemy track, ‘Harder Than You Think’. The film received widespread acclaim and has earned 4Creative multiple awards including the UK’s only Grand Prix at the 2013 Lions, a Black Pencil and four Yellow Pencils at the D&AD Awards, multiple Gold Awards at Creative Circle and British Arrows where the ad was awarded ‘commercial of the year’, a Grand Prix at the Marketing Society Awards (jointly with Sainsbury’s); it was Campaign magazine’s Campaign of the Year in 2012 and was also voted one of TED’s Ads Worth Spreading.

Following this, 4Creative were behind the thrilling, critically acclaimed ad campaign for The Grand National, broadcast on Channel 4 for the first time this year. The film saw Liverpool city take the place of Aintree’s race course and featured ten horses racing through streets, allotments, back gardens, parks and ponds; jumping cars, fences and park benches and won a Bronze Lion at Cannes 2013.

Most recently 4 Creative were behind the highly praised marketing campaign for Channel 4’s Mating Season which explored dating through the eyes of a recently bereaved older man, Arthur - a Galapagos Tortoise. Through a series of trails the campaign followed Arthur on his emotional journey to find love in the 21st century and through his eyes, viewers experienced just how complex the dating landscape has become.

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