Harris Sportsthoughts

Thoughts about Sport


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Desmond Lynam. Yes.

Desmond Lynam. Yes.

We all know that Setanta Sports is rubbish. And we know that the Setanta Sports adverts are also rubbish. So we should be sad that this appears to be the final televisual resting place of Desmond Lynam, the silver smoothie who once sailed the airwaves in the Good Ship Moustache, gleefully dispensing bon mots and bon quotes to an adoring nation.

The BBC is the spiritual home of Des. He worked there for eons after all. He started at BBC Radio Brighton in 1968 and ended up fronting Grandstand, Sportsnight, Match of the Day, Wimbledon, The Grand National, The Olympics and The World Cup. A hefty portfolio of high-level helmsmanship.

And then he left. Off to ITV to head up their newly-acquired Premier League coverage. But this was a different Des. Uncertain. Unsure of his lines. His sardonic suavity had evaporated somewhere on his cross-channel migration. Even the ‘tache seemed to have grooming issues.

And since then Des has embarked on an odyssey to find his way back home to televison studios at BBC Sport Towers. A few times he nearly made it: A ‘Have I Got News For You‘ here, a ‘We’ll Meet Again’ there. I won’t forget the regrettable performance last year on Sports Mastermind when it dawned on me that Des had actually been replaced by a robot. Struggling to tune into the autocue and serving up the kind of banter that makes people sidle away at cocktail parties. This wasn’t right.

Maybe BBC Sport is a different place to the one Des left. Some of his comrades have fallen: Pickering, Rollason and Vine. The Easy Rider left town on the horse he rode in on. Gubba followed him. And where in God’s name is Donnelly? They have been replaced by a new attractive and ultimately clean-shaven breed: Lineker, Bhasin, Balding. Actually not Balding.

So Des has washed up in the Setanta trails via a truncated stint at Countdown. He’s been a burgervanman. He was Setanta Claus. And now he is a cartoon Des. A sketch. This broadcasting behemoth has been reduced to a doodle.

I will pray for you Desmond Lynam. I hope that the next leap is the leap home.


Written by harrisharrison

January 15, 2009 at 9:56 pm

One Response

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  1. I thought I was the only person to see Sports Mastermind. Frankly it was a disaster. I assumed Des must have been at the sauce. Perhaps he could see before him a ghost – the ghost of career, of what could have been: the kind of legendary status attached now only to David Attenborough, a colossus of BBC broadcasting, a one-company man, a lifer. Instead he took the doolah and his reputation and career have paid a terrible price. He is a shell of the man he used to be.

    The lesson is: never leave the BBC once you’ve made it there. Nothing is ever the same. Ask Venables, (Jimmy) Hill, (Barry) Norman, Enfield. Everything on ITV or Sky is slightly grubby. It’s the ads.


    January 16, 2009 at 11:18 am

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