JONATHAN MCEVOY: The BBC is funded annually close to £4bn by the UK taxpayer but decided to stand in ‘solidarity’ with Gary Lineker – Saturday’s 20-minute Match of the Day showing deprived us of being richly-informed by top broadcasters
- Match of the Day deprived us of being richly informed by top broadcasters
- The BBC could have provided us with more facts and figures during the show
- There wasn’t total unanimity from the BBC in support of Lineker this week
Sorry, ladies and gentleman, there was literally nobody at the BBC on Saturday night to read out the Premier League table to us on the most celebrated channel in the history of worldwide television.
Not a junior, not a runner, not the kid who does the make-up, or the boy/girl who wants to get on over dead bodies.
Genuinely, there was not even a supernumerary at the BBC left to perform that ritual because staff at the Beeb, funded annually close to £4billion by you and me, had decided it was standing in ‘solidarity’ with Gary Lineker. They could have done more to help us enjoy the experience of watching football and provided us with more facts and figures, but someone thought they shouldn’t and wouldn’t.
That is how it was. We got a Match of the Day show just 20 minutes long. And there wasn’t even the theme tune Barry Stoller wrote to kick it off. How hard would that have been to incorporate into the broadcast had there been a will to do so?
All we got was this explanation at the start… before commentary silence: ‘We’re sorry we’re unable to show our normal Match of the Day, including commentary tonight, but here’s the day’s matches.’ A corner-kick, and then crowd noise led our interpretation of events, starting with Bournemouth-Liverpool, and no other accompaniment.
Match of the Day deprived us of being informed by broadcasters such as Gary Lineker
It was an unusual experience and the BBC could have provided more facts and figures
Was this progress in the art of TV? No, actually. Much as one would like to joke that it was better without Shearer and Wright and Lineker expounding their bons mots, it wasn’t. We are more richly informed when top broadcasters are doing their jobs, as we wish they would.
Moving across the horizon, if one were allowed to question St Gary and his disciples, ahem, we have this incoming news for a few well-paid football pundits and presenters. It is this: a number of those who watch BBC television sport, several million viewers perhaps, might just be the kind of individuals who do good deeds at hospices, or wheel the infirm in cardiac wards, or provide soup to the homeless, or make marmalade for the church, or organise Lenten lunches to raise proceeds that put food on the tables of poor Africans. A few of them – funny this – may, conceivably, vote Tory.
The likes of Alan Shearer and Ian Wright usually provide useful insights on Match of the Day
And, regardless of their voting record or intentions, they might, like me, wish not to be berated in their leisure time by a sports presenter who happens not to be the very best history master in the world.
Admittedly, there is a whiff of mutiny in BBC sport right now. We could see that on Saturday when Gary’s pals and other household names withdrew their services. Football Focus was axed. Final Score was mothballed.
But was there total unanimity from within the Beeb’s ranks in support of Lineker? Not from what I heard. One important figure in BBC Sport over the last 40 years sent me an unsolicited note, saying there was very little sympathy among the workforce towards him. In that exchange, Lineker was described as an ‘overpaid presenter’, who had dictated his own terms for too long.
There wasn’t total unanimity from the BBC this week in support of Lineker
One important figure in BBC Sport over the last 40 years sent me an unsolicited note, saying there was very little sympathy among the workforce towards Lineker
A former member of the Corporation’s staff wondered whether Lineker would have put himself out by standing down from presenting duties if the boot was on another slightly less golden foot?
A former member of the Corporation’s staff wondered whether Lineker would have put himself out by standing down from presenting duties if the boot was on another slightly less golden foot? Say, if 5 Live’s Conor McNamara had spoken out over migration, or No 10 wallpaper, or whatever else? Or Robyn Cowen had? Or even John Murray had?
Not a chance.
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