Magazine article The Spectator

Spoiled for Choice

Magazine article The Spectator

Spoiled for Choice

Article excerpt

Was last weekend the most stirringly chock-full and eventful ever in sports broadcasting history? BBC Radio 5 heroically, breathlessly, covered the lot. Television viewers possessing the full works -- satellite, terrestrial and all the trimmings -- must have been frenziedly fingering their remote dibber like demented teenage girls texting myriad mates on their mobiles. For an all-embracing sports nut, Saturday teatime threw up an almost impossible challenge of choices: where did you begin with at the five o'clock kick-off -- England football's utterly crucial match at Wembley on BBC1, or gallant Northern Ireland in Latvia on Sky Sports? Or England rugby's opening defence of their World Cup against USA in Lens on ITV? Or the very endgame climax of England cricket's unmissably compelling one-day series against India at Lord's, also on Sky? As Hughie Green used to smarm on Opportunity Knocks, it was 'make-your-mind-up-time' with knobs on.

Throughout the day, as well as the football's full lower league programme and horseracing results from six courses, a host of channels and stations were throwing in for good measure the European soccer live biggies for Scotland, Wales and the Republic of Ireland, New Zealand and Australia's rugby openers from Marseille and Lyon and, of course, all through the weekend on BBC2 the Walker Cuppers were clobbering the little dimpled onion all over the glorious Royal County Down golf course. Fore and aft of the Saturday spectaculars, on Friday and Sunday, there was heaps more of the same battering at your screens, including county cricket, rugby league, the major athletics meet in Zurich, world championship boxing and possibly the season's decisively seminal motor-race Grand Prix from Monza.

Nicely, such a babbling babel of broadcasting marked notable anniversaries. The baby's come a long way. …

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