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TV coverage of GPs in the UK


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#1 ghinzani

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Posted 09 March 2010 - 01:57

When did it start on a regular basis? I know we used to get the British GP as a one off, I guess from the late 70s but when did it get season long coverage? And was that via Screensport or Eurosport to start with? The coverage nowadays is top notch - Toby and Jules on Eurosport (in for the whole year this year - no Kirby nightmares) and the 125s and 250s get great coverage by the BBC on the red button. We are definately spoiled - I for one could not do without it.

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#2 picblanc

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Posted 09 March 2010 - 09:01

The first BBC TV "live" 500GP I can remember was the 1979 Barry Sheene 'waving' at Kenny Roberts, less than a wheel between them @the finish GP..
In 1983 they showed the 250 & 500 race live, & 125 last few laps live, not being a "mainstream sport" M/C racing always played 2nd place to Horse racing,
One year the BBC were showing the Transatlantic trophy (that was the plan anyway!!) live on BBC2, but for some reason there was a long delay at the track, anyway after watching assorted pitlane shenanigans,(people sitting around mostly!!) the two teams went out on their warm up lap, formed up on the grid flag drops & as they race off to Paddock Hill bend, Murray Walker uttered the imortal words " I am afraid thats all we have time for now"!!! and Childrens TV programme "Playschool" came on!! Frustrating that was, but quite amusing at the same time!! :rotfl:

I agree about the red button for 125/250 (whatever thats going to be called now!!) uninterupted coverage and a reasonable commentary team.
Then MotoGP, I still watch BBC coverage for that, but prefer Julian/Toby commentary, though Charlie/Steve were pretty good, I know a lot of people dont agree, but they are better than that screamer Jonathan? Green, blooming awful he is!! I rather watch Horse racing when he does the commentary!! :eek:

#3 mba21

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Posted 09 March 2010 - 09:48

The first BBC TV "live" 500GP I can remember was the 1979 Barry Sheene 'waving' at Kenny Roberts, less than a wheel between them @the finish GP..
In 1983 they showed the 250 & 500 race live, & 125 last few laps live, not being a "mainstream sport" M/C racing always played 2nd place to Horse racing,
One year the BBC were showing the Transatlantic trophy (that was the plan anyway!!) live on BBC2, but for some reason there was a long delay at the track, anyway after watching assorted pitlane shenanigans,(people sitting around mostly!!) the two teams went out on their warm up lap, formed up on the grid flag drops & as they race off to Paddock Hill bend, Murray Walker uttered the imortal words " I am afraid thats all we have time for now"!!! and Childrens TV programme "Playschool" came on!! Frustrating that was, but quite amusing at the same time!! :rotfl:

I agree about the red button for 125/250 (whatever thats going to be called now!!) uninterupted coverage and a reasonable commentary team.
Then MotoGP, I still watch BBC coverage for that, but prefer Julian/Toby commentary, though Charlie/Steve were pretty good, I know a lot of people dont agree, but they are better than that screamer Jonathan? Green, blooming awful he is!! I rather watch Horse racing when he does the commentary!! :eek:




they could have had Chris Carter as the commentator :well:

Edited by mba21, 09 March 2010 - 09:56.


#4 Paul Rochdale

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Posted 09 March 2010 - 10:12

I watched World Superbikes on TV at the weekend but had to turn the sound down as there was a screaming idot of a commentator utterly ruining the action. The viewer could see for himself what was happening and didn't need screeching Jonathon (I think) to 'enhance' it.

#5 exclubracer

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Posted 09 March 2010 - 11:23

Jack Burnicle and James Whitham were a good combo too :up:

#6 subh

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Posted 09 March 2010 - 12:27

There has been consistent/continuous MotoGP coverage on UK terrestrial television since 2000. It was introduced to a wider British public by Channel Five at that stage, and they showed 125/250 highlights as well as MotoGP live. The 250 race from Donington was also live in 2001, I seem to remember, but that was a rarity. The programmes on Five ended after three seasons, as the BBC stepped in (presumably with more money) starting with the 2003 championship and continuing right through. At the time I wasn’t happy because they dropped the 125/250 coverage that had been on Five, and when they did bring that in it has only ever been on the digital service - which I don’t have as yet. For the first year the BBC commentary team was not too inspired, but Charlie Cox and Steve Parrish were promoted when the BBC dropped British Superbikes.

Before 2000 I know there was coverage available via satellite channels, but I don’t know for how long or whether all races were shown.

#7 ghinzani

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Posted 10 March 2010 - 22:56

There has been consistent/continuous MotoGP coverage on UK terrestrial television since 2000. It was introduced to a wider British public by Channel Five at that stage, and they showed 125/250 highlights as well as MotoGP live. The 250 race from Donington was also live in 2001, I seem to remember, but that was a rarity. The programmes on Five ended after three seasons, as the BBC stepped in (presumably with more money) starting with the 2003 championship and continuing right through. At the time I wasn’t happy because they dropped the 125/250 coverage that had been on Five, and when they did bring that in it has only ever been on the digital service - which I don’t have as yet. For the first year the BBC commentary team was not too inspired, but Charlie Cox and Steve Parrish were promoted when the BBC dropped British Superbikes.

Before 2000 I know there was coverage available via satellite channels, but I don’t know for how long or whether all races were shown.



Thanks for that - you really need to get a Freeview box at least for this coming season - the red button team, I think they are the world feed guys, are worth the £20 a basic Freeview box costs. Cant say I ever listen to the big class on BBC though, Charlie Cox is almost as bad as Kirby is on Eurosport - thank God Jules and Toby are in for the season. In fact I think Cox is worse, he is so conceited, especially since he is from a 4 wheel background and not very good as a driver at that.

Plus if you get a Freeview box you can watch the F1 cars with the radio5 coverage, if thats your thing.

#8 Coupe Kawasaki

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Posted 10 March 2010 - 23:10

I phoned the BBC one day when I waited for ages and they said there was something exciting happening at Lord's and that was it! :eek: :eek: :eek: I went mental and phoned them up telling them that I don't think watching some ponce rub his nuts with a ball was very exciting and basically threw it all at them. :rolleyes: I went on like John Cleese does! :rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl:



David

#9 subh

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Posted 10 March 2010 - 23:54

you really need to get a Freeview box at least for this coming season


My problem is that the more motor racing and motorcycle racing coverage there is on television, the more I watch. If I had access to everything I’d surely watch everything and possibly never do anything else - in a way it’s better the way it is. And I’m usually writing a MotoGP race report while you guys are watching the Extras. Oh, and that F1 thing you suggested - I can do that by turning the TV down and turning the radio up...

#10 ghinzani

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Posted 11 March 2010 - 00:45

My problem is that the more motor racing and motorcycle racing coverage there is on television, the more I watch. If I had access to everything I’d surely watch everything and possibly never do anything else - in a way it’s better the way it is. And I’m usually writing a MotoGP race report while you guys are watching the Extras. Oh, and that F1 thing you suggested - I can do that by turning the TV down and turning the radio up...



Yes but will the radio and tv coverage be in sync? I know what you mean about the more you have access to the more you will watch, but the coverage of qualifying and race action for the 125/250s last year was top notch. Trying to remember the guys names, Nick someone, from Oxford and another bloke.

#11 ChiliFan

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Posted 11 March 2010 - 01:53

Yes but will the radio and tv coverage be in sync? I know what you mean about the more you have access to the more you will watch, but the coverage of qualifying and race action for the 125/250s last year was top notch. Trying to remember the guys names, Nick someone, from Oxford and another bloke.


Nick Harris and Gavin Emmett I think.

#12 picblanc

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Posted 11 March 2010 - 08:42

Nick Harris and Gavin Emmett I think.


Thats them, I have read that Charlie Cox is not doing the BBC commentary this year, and Suzy Perry is not doing the grid thing.
Bit worried who the Beeb have lined up for commentary anyone know?

#13 mba21

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Posted 11 March 2010 - 09:00

Nick Harris and Gavin Emmett I think.


Yep Nick is deffo an Oxford bloke :clap: :clap: :clap:

#14 GD66

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Posted 11 March 2010 - 09:12

He may well be, but he is ten years past his "use-by" date as a roadrace commentator, and these days is simply woeful. And Gavin Emmett his offsider has clearly never raced anything, or if he did has never passed anyone. We are stuck with those two berks on the Foxtel coverage in Australia, and considering that they're actually there at the meeting, their efforts are perfunctory at best, with Harris regularly going through the motions and trotting out the same tired lineup of cliches he's been gibbering for years. I quite liked his efforts as a print journo in the eighties, but clearly it's time for new blood in the com box.... :rolleyes:

#15 mba21

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Posted 11 March 2010 - 09:16

He may well be, but he is ten years past his "use-by" date as a roadrace commentator, and these days is simply woeful. And Gavin Emmett his offsider has clearly never raced anything, or if he did has never passed anyone. We are stuck with those two berks on the Foxtel coverage in Australia, and considering that they're actually there at the meeting, their efforts are perfunctory at best, with Harris regularly going through the motions and trotting out the same tired lineup of cliches he's been gibbering for years. I quite liked his efforts as a print journo in the eighties, but clearly it's time for new blood in the com box.... :rolleyes:


I think Stavros does a pretty good job,he just needs a good co presenter...........but who it would be is a good question

#16 GD66

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Posted 11 March 2010 - 09:20

Actually, he and Jim Witham worked well together at the TT last year....

#17 mba21

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Posted 11 March 2010 - 09:24

Actually, he and Jim Witham worked well together at the TT last year....


Yes Witham would be a good choice,there are not many others to choose from if we are honest,all it needs now is a pinup to do the startline walkabout. :lol: :lol:

#18 picblanc

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Posted 11 March 2010 - 09:32

It wont be Whitham, he is Eurosports WSB & BSB? co commentator.
Keef Huewen, he is your man! :up:
Although he is working for SKY so wont be him either! :well:

#19 mba21

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Posted 11 March 2010 - 09:33

It wont be Whitham, he is Eurosports WSB & BSB? co commentator.
Keef Huewen, he is your man! :up:
Although he is working for SKY so wont be him either! :well:


maybe they can get Norman Wisdom :lol: :lol: :lol:...................Murray Walker

Edited by mba21, 11 March 2010 - 09:36.


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#20 ghinzani

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Posted 13 March 2010 - 00:07

It wont be Whitham, he is Eurosports WSB & BSB? co commentator.
Keef Huewen, he is your man! :up:
Although he is working for SKY so wont be him either! :well:



He does all the American car racing stuff for them. Might be better used on bikes to be honest.

#21 LittleChris

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Posted 20 March 2010 - 01:17

He does all the American car racing stuff for them. Might be better used on bikes to be honest.


Always thought Keith Huewen and Jules Ryder were a very good team when they did Superbikes in the mid 90's. Keith seemed to have just the right amount of gravitas to lead the coverage & of course he's raced at a pretty decent level

Edited by LittleChris, 20 March 2010 - 01:18.


#22 raisinberry777

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Posted 18 September 2010 - 05:13

Bumping an old topic here, but hey, the information's all the same!

The BBC did one-off races at Silverstone/Donington from 79 (at least) until the early 90s. Occasionally short highlights of the other races would come from ITV.

Eurosport started doing live broadcasts of the racing in 1989 (with Screensport occasionally doing some highlights in that year only). 500cc races would mostly be broadcast in full, with the 250cc and 125cc races were often reduced to highlights or having only part of the race shown. This gradually expanded as the years went on - by 1991 nearly all races for all three classes were being broadcasted in full.

In 1995 500cc Saturday Qualifying was shown on delay (but in full) on Eurosport, and in the following two years this expanded to being both qualifying sessions for all three classes.

Sky Sports I'm not so sure about. Throughout 1991 they broadcasted highlights of races, and in 1992 they started broadcasting the European 500cc races live (the others highlights) with Keith and Julian's commentary. After that I'm not so sure until 1998 and 1999, where they broadcasted the racing on delay, the 500cc race being shown in full and the 125cc and 250cc being given extended highlights. After the 1999 season Sky Sports didn't obtain the rights again and Julian moved to Eurosport for the 2000 season.

The BBC picked up the rights for the full season in 2003, mostly broadcasting extended highlights (I think) until in 2004 when each race was shown in full, with commentary from Charlie Cox and Steve Parrish. This was expanded in 2007 to have MotoGP Qualifying and an extra post-race show on the BBCi service, expanding in 2008 to include the 125cc and 250cc races with world feed commentary, and again in 2009 to show Saturday qualifying for the 125cc and 250cc classes.

#23 GD66

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Posted 18 September 2010 - 05:39

Always thought Keith Huewen and Jules Ryder were a very good team when they did Superbikes in the mid 90's. Keith seemed to have just the right amount of gravitas to lead the coverage & of course he's raced at a pretty decent level



Did tend to grind the teeth a bit with their apparent love affair with "FOGGGYYYY", but no denying their love and knowledge of the sport, and between them they never used to miss a background incident (ooh, did you see that Julian, marshals running in the background, someone's down in the dirt !), whereas nowadays in the GPs in the Antipodes, we are subjected to the execrable Nick Harris and his obsequious offsider Gavin Emmet, who are lucky to spot a lead change half a lap later. Honestly, Harris has been an acceptable journo over the years but is 15 years past his use-by date as a commentator. Bloody woeful ! Aaaargh ! :mad:

Edited by GD66, 18 September 2010 - 05:43.


#24 peterd

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Posted 18 September 2010 - 06:25

Interesting to note online debate going on over whether BBC will drop F1 commentator Jonathan Legard and replace him with Charlie Cox.

The MotoGP fans are screaming yes, please. Seems Aussie Charlie doesn't have too many fans in MGP.

Purely selfishly, since here in NZ we get Legard and Brundle, I'd like the current arrangement to continue

Yes, the MGP trio are dire, but way short of being as bad as Jonathan Green, who does WSB. He certainly came out of the closet in expressing his undying love for Ben Spies last year ... every lap. Fortunately Steve Martin continues to save the day.

Keith and Jules were great value in WSB days, especially considering all their commentary was done in a box at Sky's West London studio.

#25 raisinberry777

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Posted 18 September 2010 - 08:13

Keith and Jules were great value in WSB days, especially considering all their commentary was done in a box at Sky's West London studio.


A sentiment I can't help but echo. There have been a lot of awful studio commentary jobs over the years, but how these two managed to be so knowledgable, informative and enjoyable despite not even being at the track is astounding.

#26 GD66

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Posted 18 September 2010 - 08:30

Honestly don't find Legard as bad as forum typists seem to make out. And I've just scrolled back through the thread and discovered I've not only posted on the topic before, but added another 5 years to Nick Harris's use-by date as a commentator ! :eek:
In reality, Charlie Cox would be even worse. If he improves 30%, he'll still have no idea. He built himself a platform as an ex-Australian car racer, but no-one here has ever heard of him ! As a 2-litre car racer in the UK, he was average at best, and his meagre efforts to absorb any catch phrases (carry the speed, back to the stripe, etc..) show a basic misunderstanding of the guts of tough racing.
Just where does this apparently endless production line of uninformed, clueless commentators come from...? :confused:

#27 peterd

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Posted 18 September 2010 - 10:08

You're right GD, the BBC F1 team is not too bad.
The commentary problem is not just confined to bikes. TV companies all too often work in the mistaken belief that successful sportsman make successful commentators. NZ television and radio, especially when it comes to rugby, are littered with living, or half living, proof that this isn't the case. It seems there is no time or inclination to actually train these second-raters.
I think I read somewhere that in the UK Gary Lineaker took the best part of a year to learn, off-screen, how to perform on TV. Of course the proliferation of TV channels and programmes puts pressure on to find commentators.
But in terms of pure awful and banal, you would have to go someway to beat the truly appalling effort of NZ's TV One when it came to media questioning and comment at the last Olympic Games. I pointed this out at the time, very politely, to TV One's website and got banned.

#28 rd500

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Posted 19 September 2010 - 01:40

i was ecstatic to find that dorna have pulled all tye individual gps from 92 to 98 on video, thanks for that . From the times i came across keith on the world production bikes he always sounded upbeat mind you every second word was foggy, you compare that to his commentaries from the gps in 90,91 and it was another story. I remember watching the german gp 90 live when doohan and chili had that syncronized highside and julian was getting excited while keith drawled on like it was something that happened at every meeting, so i was never a big fan of him and i never watched the world production championship (should never have been a world championship in the first place but they are paying for it now :up:) you just couldn't beat barry nuttley or paul fowler, but something that gets my goat that started in the late 80s was a tendency to over commentate, like when you had chris carter all he would say is "spencer" then you would be able to hear the bike for 15 seconds or so but now they just witter on irrelevant nonsense. still the ultimate classic that i heard was a local commentator up hear who announced that the he could hear the bikes going out on track ---- ye it was a bunch of spectators leaving the circuit but you couldnt fault him as all these four strokes sound the same :rolleyes:

#29 Rob

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 22:07

When did it start on a regular basis? I know we used to get the British GP as a one off, I guess from the late 70s but when did it get season long coverage? And was that via Screensport or Eurosport to start with? The coverage nowadays is top notch - Toby and Jules on Eurosport (in for the whole year this year - no Kirby nightmares) and the 125s and 250s get great coverage by the BBC on the red button. We are definately spoiled - I for one could not do without it.


I remember watching on Eurosport in the early 90s. Although I was only an occasional viewer then.