Sport on TV: Alan Hansen says no to extra time as he joins BBC exodus


Suggestions that BBC TV have ordered new signs for their sports studio(s) – whether they have more than one these days is unclear – which read: "Will the last presenter to leave the premises please turn out the lights" are, of course, mere malicious gossip, but it's undeniable that a growing number of presenters and pundits have headed for the exit door in recent times as the BBC's portfolio of sporting events continues to shrink.

They have given up on horseracing, although how much you will miss the charmless cackling of Willie Carson or the graceless gurning of John McCririck is a matter entirely for you. While the sainted Clare Balding still fronts racing coverage on our screens she now does so over on Channel 4, having already given up her on-screen anchor role for the BBC's rugby league Challenge Cup programming.

Auntie still has a presence in Formula One, albeit a somewhat reduced one; this season they are covering only nine races live after financial constraints forced them into an uneasy partnership with Sky. And Jake Humphrey, their erstwhile F1 presenter, is another high-profile defector, having jumped ship for the whizz-bang delights of BT Sport. No more will we see him towering over David Coulthard and Eddie Jordan, graciously sharing with them his in-depth knowledge of motor racing's intricacies.

Never mind; there's still football. Not too much of the live stuff, granted, though no true fan will want to miss the qualifiers for the 2015 Women's World Cup on BBC2. Yet when it comes to highlights, Match of the Day on Saturday nights and its Sunday sister MotD2 remain jewels in the BBC's increasingly precarious crown.

But hold on, what's this? Another departure from the pundit ranks, and a noteworthy one; last week the housewives' favourite Alan Hansen announced he will be stepping ashore from the Saturday flagship after 22 years. Never mind his dictum back in 1995 after Manchester United lost 3-1 to Aston Villa on the opening day of the season: "You can't win anything with kids" (only the Double, it transpired), at 58 he has decided to let younger folk have their fling.

The Match of the Day producers agree with him, it seems; his fellow analyst Mark Lawrenson, he of the big collars and small thoughts, has "a reduced role" this season as the programme opts for squad rotation. Gary Lineker is still the front man, as befits a former England striker, but last Sunday there was no Lawro or Hansen; the swivel seats alongside him were occupied by Robbie Savage and Michael Owen. The blond and the bland; keep rotating, chaps.

There has been a change at the helm this season on MotD2, as the excitable Northern Irishman Colin Murray was given the heave-ho in favour of the lower-key Mark Chapman. Murray has also left his Radio 5 Live Fighting Talk show after making a jolly hurtful joke about Clare Balding. His excuse? He claimed he hadn't had time to read his script before the red light went on. At least his audience's displeasure was spontaneous.

Two presenters who should have noticed the red light hadn't gone off before making equally crass remarks about a female match official are now back on view, though. Having been summarily dismissed by Sky in 2011, the non-PC pair have popped up again in Qatar, introducing live coverage of Premier League matches on the Arab channel Al Jazeera, and pubs and clubs in the UK have cottoned on to the fact that they can patch into those broadcasts for free.

Sounds perfect fare for the boozer of another Al, The Pub Landlord Al Murray: "My gaff, my rules – switch on and get a white wine or fruit-based drink for the lady."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Recruitment Genius: Professional Sales Trainee - B2B

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: First things first - for the av...

Recruitment Genius: Account Executive - Graduate / Entry Level

£22000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital advertising infras...

Guru Careers: PR Account Director / SAM

£50 - 60k (DOE) + Benefits & Bonus: Guru Careers: A PR Account Director / SAM ...

Guru Careers: Research Analyst / Business Insight Analyst

£32 - £37K + extensive benefits: Guru Careers: Research Analyst / Business Ins...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific