I wrote something grumpy for last week’s New Statesman about football, the BBC and pun-soaked platitudes. Here’s how it began:
In the early Noughties when broadcasters still bothered to find new uses for the interactive red button, the Beeb began offering viewers of live football three audio options – the TV commentary, the Radio 5 Live commentary or the sound of the crowd. Public service broadcasting at its best and, naturally, I chose the crowd.
Now that there’s no such choice, I press mute instead. Anything to escape the reverse alchemy that invariably results when middle- aged men with lip mics share commentating duties. Tell me I’m not alone.
It’s certainly not this column’s role to do anyone out of a job – especially in these recessionary times – but surely football-watching would remain undiminished if we did away with the odd commentator or co-commentator, sometimes laughably referred to as the “expert summariser”.
Where we crave insight and analysis, we get platitudes and pre-prepared, pun-soaked soliloquies to fill the dead air. (Really, what’s wrong with dead air?)
You can read the full thing here.