World of Sport

‘It’s been a bit Alan Partridge’: Ex-BBC legend Lynam savages coverage

World of Sport

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Des Lynam, once a BBC institution, has given the corporation a kicking over its coverage of the Commonwealth Games.

Lynam joined the BBC as a freelance radio reporter in 1968 and worked his way to the very top of sports broadcasting, hosting Match of the Day and Grandstand before his controversial departure to ITV in 1999.

And the viewers’ favourite has pulled no punches in his assessment of how his old employers have been handling the games in Glasgow.

First on the agenda in his Daily Telegraph column was the late-night show presented by Clare Blading…

“I know that Clare Balding, nice person that she is, would not have made any demands like that but someone at the BBC thought the format of Tonight at the Games was a good idea. There has been a touch of Alan Partridge about it all,” he wrote.

“You can dress the Commonwealth Games up all you like but if your guests of the evening happen to be a couple of discus throwers, a group of bowlers, shooters or badminton players, none of whom you were familiar with yesterday and who you are likely to forget instantly, it is hardly compulsive viewing.

“There were plenty of clips of the day’s action that, if interested, you would have seen live or already replayed. Of course the people in the audience were worked up into a frenzy. I have never seen a studio audience for any programme not delighted to be there but that does not mean the viewing audience is necessarily intrigued.”

Lynam also wrote of his confusion at how Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker was being used by the production team.

“After his successful World Cup performances, it has been surprising to find Gary Lineker involved in coverage of the Games,” he wrote. “With a new football season almost upon us, I would have thought a well-deserved break was in order.

“However, as at the Olympics two years ago, he finds himself as a sort of continuity announcer, opening the evening programmes and then largely leaving it to the presenters on site at say the athletics and swimming to take over. Overuse of his time, underuse of his talent. I think the Games peaked once the athletics got under way and here, as at the swimming, the standard of commentary was high. That cannot be said for all the sports.

“At times the standard has been no better than mediocre and even amateurish. The quality of some of the voices has left a lot to be desired too.”

What are your thoughts? Have you been impressed with the BBC coverage? And should Des Lynam be making such comments about his former employers?

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