Boycott gets second media innings with Talk Radio

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The Independent Online
GEOFFREY BOYCOTT'S exile to the commentary wilderness for beating his former mistress lasted just three days. Talk Radio announced yesterday that it was hiring the disgraced former England batsman.

Boycott, handed a three- month suspended sentence and a fine by a French court on Tuesday, has landed a lucrative contract with the station to cover England's Ashes tour of Australia after being welcomed back into the fold by Talk Radio's new owner, Kelvin Mackenzie.

At the same time, the station has dropped two presenters Tommy Boyd and Nick Abbott. Kirsty Young, the Channel 5 news anchor who has fronted Talk Radio's breakfast show, will not be returning to the station, according to one source.

Earlier this week Boycott's broadcasting career lay in ruins as television stations lined up to announce that he no longer featured in their cricket coverage because his conviction earlier this year for beating Margaret Moore had been upheld. His woes were compounded when The Sun dropped his cricket column and branded him a disgrace.

But Boycott, whose spin is being spun by Max Clifford, the publicist who brokered the deal, has found an ally in Mr Mackenzie, who last night condemned the French judge, Dominique Haumant-Duamas, and said: "French justice stinks".

Linking up with a convicted woman-beater may at first sight appear to be a distasteful error of judgement, but Mr Mackenzie, a former editor of The Sun, is simply following his gut instincts. His buy-out of Talk Radio is still less than a month old and Mr Mackenzie has never seen anything wrong in the "all publicity is good publicity" adage.

He said: "Geoff Boycott's an expert on cricket and our cricket coverage needed beefing up. Nobody else wanted him, so `Come on down, Geoff!'

"The decision in France stinks. My view is that the judge should keep her views to herself."

Boycott, who will receive a five-figure sum for the contract, hailed the deal as proof positive of his innocence. "I am so pleased about Talk Radio because it is nice to know that someone out there is backing me," he said.