Poor old Des Lynam, it was about the only thing…

…he got right in the column.

Don’t know how long Des Lynam’s column about the BBC broadcasting of the Olympics was but in classic Twitter mob style they picked out about the only sentence in the whole piece that was accurate.

…the female voice is not that attractive for actual commentating and in some cases becomes grating. - Des Lynam

The mob’s automatic response was dinosaur and Clare Balding. Only problem being as per usual they had just read the bit they wanted and not the whole thing which prefaced the above statement with…female presenters have done a fine job.

Now Clare Balding has mainly been a presenter and in previous columns he’s praised her presenting as many have. Those that mention the banality that is Gabby Logan are dismissed for being idiots.

No it’s the screechers, the ones that set the dog off howling in pain, the likes of Jacqui Oatley who I assume did the women’s football football, didn’t watch, one of the reasons why being that assumption. She’s too hard to listen to, being both screechy and pretty damn poor at the job anyway. Balding doesn’t screech, probably as her sidekick Willie Carson recently said at a race meeting, while widening his eyes and blowing out his cheeks, because she’s a big girl.

But it has nothing to do with gender as Jonathan Pearce is equally shrill and grating as Oatley making the men’s game a difficult watch. Hugh Porter on the cycling road and the track is a difficult listen, with his over the top screeching out names and numbers, getting most of them wrong – the excellent Chris Boardman next to him just highlights how poor Porter is. Lynam praised both, Boardman was the second thing he got right in the column.

While at the gymnastics Christine Still has a horrible voice for commentating it is nothing compared to Matt Baker a classic BBC presenter as they try and make everything kiddies TV. The Blue Peterisation of broadcasting, where the asymmetric bars is now the uneven bars. He really hasn’t got a voice for any sort of broadcasting medium, even the under 12s shouldn’t be subjected to the caterwaul without ear protection.

Another in this breed of kiddie TV presenters who have been over promoted is Jake Humphrey. The ubiquitous Jake Humphrey. Does anyone actually like this guy fronting any kind of sport? Most of which he seems exceptionally clueless about. He’s also clueless when it comes to various words that were quite useful through the games, struggling with evening, athletes and Wembley. Don’t know where he gets those extra syllables, maybe it’s from his time in the velodrome with Hugh Porter who seems to find some extra letters in Venenzuela. I bet he says drawring.

Why was he fronting the cycling when the far better Jill Douglas was relegated to the well of the track for the odd interview. Her interviews were at least decent ones, very decent when you consider the standard ridiculous questions GB winners – mostly in the velodrome – and losers – mostly at the athletics – are asked post race.

Which brings us to the athletics. Or as so many at the BBC seem to believe the Olympics. Especially the likes of Steve Cram and Brendan Foster who come in for great praise from Lynam, along with track-side questioner Phil Jones. God knows why as Jones commiserates with yet more inane questions to yet another failure who should be handing back their lottery funding – seems to by iPods, tattoos, bling and piercings in athletics, where in cycling, rowing etc it buys medals – as the Cram, Foster duet waffle away telling you something your eyes can see isn’t true.

What Brendan Foster says – what is really happening:

  1. He/she is well placed = He/she is last.
  2. He/she has made his/her move = He/she has passed the one person that’ll finish behind them and is still 20 yards off the pace.
  3. He/she is gaining ground = that 20 yards is now 40 yards and counting.
  4. What a great race by [insert GB athlete] = Another GB embarrassment on the track.

And they do it for every damn lap. Each taking over from the last with the next bit of hyperbole, when nothing has actually happened. In his defence at least Foster doesn’t screech. No he drones, on and on, mournful drone. And when both stop for breath Paul Dickenson jumps in with equally fatuous commments. The hype over Mo Farah was excruciating, a bit of perspective to Cram and Fosters calls of greatness is the fact both the 5k and 10k have been run 23 times in the Olympics and the double has now been done by 6 athletes at 7 games, so a third of the time, not exactly unique is it. Now if he added the marathon to the double as Emil Zátopek did in ’52, breaking the Olympic record in each event then still not unique but bit more select company.

Meanwhile Denise Lewis and Colin Jackson are going mental, leaping about and screeching, Michael Johnson looks on with a mixture of contempt, disgust and resignation. Lost count the number of times his head turned to both of them, or John Inverdale, with a look of utter disbelief at what he’d just heard. Johnson is the only bright spot of the track and field coverage, only honest one certainly.

Lap after lap, they never go away from the 10,000 or 5,000 metres do they? Other sports shown make way so easily, you’re there watching the first couple rounds of something then all of a sudden that voice comes up saying we’re going somewhere else and you can continue watching on the red button.

A great service, all the sports on their own red button channel. OK but cuts out about half the audience who don’t have a satellite dish and therefore are stuck with just the one red button channel until after about 6 o’clock when it was doubled. Maybe the BBC are just a bit too obsessed with Murdoch and Sky and believe everyone has a dish and are paranoid Rupert’s grasp is bigger than it really is.

So you click the red button and find it’s not what you want but it’s the same thing being shown on either BBC1 or BBC3. I don’t know which is worst the duplication or when they cut from it for chit-chat. Gary Lineker handing the programme over to Sue Barker or vice versa. Sue sitting there with her rictus grin, squashed spider eyes and helmet hair that seems to be made from the left overs of Donald Trump’s barnet. The main thrust of Lynam’s article. What was the point of Lineker as a link man? Well that, to link, and to keep him away from things he hasn’t got a clue about. He’s nearly figured this football malarkey out don’t want to confuse him too much. When he’s being paid as much as he is from the license tax he should have to put in a bit more. Though he probably does a better job than the likes of excruciatingly irritating Hazel Irving – her bits in the closing ceremony sounded like something from North Korean TV – Rishi Persad who stumbled and bumbled over everything every time I wasn’t quick enough with the TV remote and the woman who did the morning show, don’t know who she is but she’s a news reader and was completely out of her depth with sport.

Des now seems to think that to be a commentator you have to be a star at the sport. Most of those above along with how many footballers – Schmeichel, Adams, Keown, Hansen, Shearer, Savage – prove that’s not quite the case. It’s got nothing to do with sporting prowess or gender just about if you are good and for the most part the BBC sport presenters, pundits and commentators aren’t.

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