Wednesday, 25 June 2008


As if nearly seven hours of live sport were not enough, BBC1 tonight follows its Wimbledon/Euro 2008 marathon with a programme devoted to those who describe the action. Adrian Chiles introduces "The Story of Sports Commentary, part 2" at 1045pm this evening. This follows on from part 1 which went out last Saturday featuring, among other highights (highlights?) a tongue-tied Clare Balding failing to fight back the tears when interviewing her trainer-father and jockey-brother after they had won a horse race. Part 1 also featured the best-known line of football commentary, Kenneth Wolstenholme's "they think it's all is now!"

The funny thing about that line from the 1966 World Cup Final is that no-one really picked up on it at the time. Speaking as one who is old enough to have watched the game live on TV and still has scrapbooks of cuttings from the great day, it was only when the 20th anniversary came around that Ken's magic moment received due attention. By then we were into the VHS era and, unlike 1966, sporting highlights could be replayed time and again.

For the commentator this usually means mistakes are celebrated more than neat phrases. But hey, that's showbiz.

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