F1 on the BBC

BBC Team

The news that Formula 1 was coming back to the BBC was greeted with happiness all round. Whilst ITV had done a good job and certainlyimproved the coverage hugely over its time as broadcaster, there is something special about the sport returning to the beeb, its rightful home in my opinion.

In the lead up to the start of the season there was widespread speculation around what the coverage would entail, who the presenting line up would be and whether the beloved Chain would return. When we finally got to Australia and all these details were unveiled we weren’t disappointed. The coverage across all platforms has been excellent from the BBC, with great TV coverage supported by excellent interactive options and various online content. We even saw the return of The Chain as we’d dreamed.

The BBC managed to get nearly every detail right, bringing the key faces over from ITV and adding high quality new blood  to the mix. Jake Humphrey has been a sensation as anchorman and the material he provides for the website is top class as well. Supporting him David Coulthard has also proved a revelation, providing humour to go with the excellent insight we all expected. Even Eddie Jordan has found his feet over time and now adds something to the party, even if it is just being the butt of DC’s jokes. I wasn’t even a big fan of Ted Kravitz on ITV but he’s grown me over the season. Then there’s Martin Brundle who continues to prove why he’s won awards for his broadcasting.

So who haven’t we mentioned? Unfortunately there’s one key ingredient missing and it’s a pretty major one. Jonathan Legard has floundered since his promotion from radio to tv commentary. There’s something intensely annoying about his voice, an immediate drawback for a commentator, but he somehow manages to make this worse with the complete drivel that falls out of his mouth.   He gives the impression that this is the first time he’s watched Formula 1 and isn’t interested in learning anything about it, he just says what he sees on the screen. But he even manages to get this wrong as he comments on things he’s looking at out the window instead of what we can see at home.

Filling Murray Walker’s boots was always going to be a very difficult job. James Allen had a lot of critics in his time, but you can’t argue that he didn’t know and love the sport, even if he couldn’t convey that passion as well as we might have liked. But put him next to Legard and he looks like the commentating messiah. You can even tell from Brundle’s comments that he can’t stand him, though he does his best to stay calm while JL talks over his insightful and interesting points.  

Having watched a lot of the practice session coverage online i’ve heard David Croft prove himself time and time again to be a talented speaker with a great knowledge of the sport. Why he hasn’t been drafted in yet to replace Legard is beyond me, though i assume the BBC don’t want to lose face by acknowledging that they’ve made a mistake so soon. However, from a fans point of view i would respect the BBC a lot more if they saw the error of their ways quickly and promoted Croft. We need to rescue him from radio commentary soon before he gets ruined in the way Legard clearly has been. There have been numerous times this season when i’ve contemplated changing commentaries to Croft and Davidson but i can’t bring myself to sacrifice Brundle. I’d much prefer it if i could have the best of both worlds and see the back of this bumbling buffoon. You’ve done a great job BBC, don’t ruin it by persevering with one bad egg.

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2 Responses to “F1 on the BBC”

  1. I couldn’t agree with you more. The commentary team is very good but JL is notably weak. This quote from your post nails it for me:

    “You can even tell from Brundle’s comments that he can’t stand him, though he does his best to stay calm while JL talks over his insightful and interesting points”

    All throughout the coverage Brundle is delivering great detail that only a top driver with years of experience could, while all the time having to correct JL when he tries to talk about something he obviously has little real world knowledge about. Most of the rest of the time JL is just spitting out generic nonsense with the occasional over excited burst of volume.

    I’ve heard enough of David Croft to agree he’d be a worthy replacement.

  2. […] on the BBC 2009 Back in 2009 (it seems so long ago now!) i wrote about the coverage of F1 on the BBC and gave my opinion on the various parts of the ensemble. That was back in July so i thought that, […]

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