More TV Memories – Jumpers For Goalposts.

Jumpers For Goalposts (Sky One, 2001)

The Fast Show was one of the most successful comedy sketch shows of its era, and so it deserved to be. Even though there wasn’t a huge amount of editions (three series and some specials), rather a lot more was squeezed out of the idea, with the popular characters also appearing in various adverts, on stage shows, in sitcom spin-offs, and so on. There was also a comedy panel game.

This was on Sky One, instead of the BBC, and I do remember this attracting my interest and seeing a little at the time. Jumpers For Goalposts (being one of The Fast Show‘s famous catchphrases) was all about sport, in a similar style to A Question Of Sport and They Think It’s All Over, that were also around at the time. This was presented by Simon “bid again, Simon” Day in character as Clive Gordon. vlcsnap-00461

Two teams of three took part, and the team captains were Mark Williams in character as Scottish hardman Tommy Stein “Stein-Housmuir”), and Paul Whitehouse in character as Ron Manager (“Ron’s Rangers”, although these team names changed every week), who had a big rivalry, and also often wore some nice knitwear. Ron had a rather old-fashioned view on football. Do you remember the days when there were puddles on the pitch? Isn’t it? Now like now, no, marvellous. vlcsnap-00455

Every week they would be joined by some panellists, including comedians, footballers, or anyone that they could get hold of cheap really, and this led to some rather unlikely combinations. So if you’d ever wanted to see Noel Gallagher and Paul Daniels, or Jim Bowen and Goldie, on the same team, then there was some good news for you. vlcsnap-00460

There were various rounds, but none of them were particularly original, such as can you guess who this sportsperson is from these clues, and the fingers on buzzers, and although there was a score kept and a winning team announced, as always with these type of shows, it was the contribution that they made (such as how much they laughed at everything) that mattered the most. vlcsnap-00462

There were 13 editions of Jumpers For Goalposts in only one series, but this all came and went with little attention, and it could be said that this stretched the idea of the characters a little too far, maybe the genre was already too crowded. In later years there would be more sport-themed comedy panel games including A League Of Their Own and Play To The Whistle. But this one remains a curiosity from two decades ago. Ooh, mantle with aplomb, marvellous. jumpers0001

Radio Memories – Baker And Kelly United.

Baker And Kelly United (Talk Radio, 1997-1999)

Danny Baker is someone whose TV work I have followed over the years, ranging from adverts to game shows. Baker has also been working in radio since the late-80s, but I didn’t hear much of his early work, so I missed out on shows he did on various stations including BBC GLR, BBC Radio 1, and BBC Radio 5. He became known for taking calls on unusual subjects and playing a variety of songs.

Baker had also hosted a lot of radio shows about football (and was also a columnist in The Times), usually alongside Danny Kelly, who has been the editor of various magazines about music and sport. After this double-act were kicked off yet another station, they were hired by Talk Radio to host a show about football, which was increasing its coverage of sport at the time. I thought that it was about time I finally had a listen to them, and I definitely enjoyed it.

Now I remember that Baker once said that he only “went” once on the radio, that is he laughed so much he was unable to regain his composure. He said “Danny Kelly made me do it”, but he didn’t say what it was. I wonder if it was this moment that I wanted to tell the story of, as it is one of the funniest and most remarkable things that I have ever heard on the radio (I know some people consider their “wooden bowtie” incident to be their pinnacle, but I didn’t hear that live). The memory is a little hazy, but it went something like this.

Baker and Kelly were hired to do a phone-in on Saturday evenings, and this became popular enough for them to have an extra slot in the afternoon, so they would be on for about two hours before and after the 3pm matches. During their break, did they stay in the studio, listen to the live coverage and make some notes of the results, or did they even go to watch their teams (Baker being a Lions fan, and Kelly a Spurs fan)? Well no, it seems they spent that time in the pub enjoying a cocktail or two, which might go some way to explaining what happened here.

For a while at the end of the evening show, Kelly used to read an email from Trevor, who wrote terrible jokes. This was accompanied by graveyard-style sound effects like heavy rain and tolling bells, and Baker would deliberately not laugh, and then pause and say goodbye. One week, they received a call from someone which turned out to be one of the all-time classics. bk

They had attended an event, and among the guests was Jeff Astle, who was a famous footballer in the late-60s/early-70s for West Bromwich Albion, and he was having a second wave of fame following his appearances on Fantasy Football League (as co-host Frank Skinner is a big WBA fan). Presumably he was there to give an award or do some after-dinner speaking, but afterwards, the caller noticed he stretched out his empty plate to a passing waiter and asked “any more pie?”. Well that was fine and amusing, but it was what happened next that was really great.

About a week later Trevor emailed again and Kelly began with something like “Hello. I enjoyed your story about Jeff Astle last week. Here’s what I think other famous and historical figures would’ve said in that situation”. And these were just the most awful and ridiculous puns, and rather than not laughing, Baker couldn’t stop, and he made some rather remarkable noises, to the point he was so overcome he couldn’t finish the show, and as he was still laughing they just ran out of time and tumbled off the air.

For many weeks after, loads more of these puns were read out by Kelly that were sent in by various people, such as “Babe the talking pig – any more sty?” and Sir David Lean the film director – any more Kwai?”. It caused a sensation. Then they were dropped about halfway through the season because supposedly they weren’t talking about football enough. When they were delivering solid radio gold like this!

There was more though, as Baker and Kelly went around a few more radio stations, and Baker hosted the compilation Own Goals And Gaffs that was released on DVD. They also did a book together that was very entertaining, and they even briefly appeared on TV on BT Sport at about 2am. Baker has written a lot of great and witty things about football, in much contrast to his rather grumpy and irritating views on the modern game online. He has promised that he will reunite with Kelly once again one day soon though.

Radio Memories – Capital Gold Sportstime.

Capital Gold Sportstime (Capital Gold, 1988-2002)

This is a radio show that I came across by chance one day, and I was grateful that I did, as it has a rather interesting story. In 1988, Capital launched a new spin-off station on Medium Wave called Capital Gold, which would play “golden oldies” that were essentially the biggest hits of the 60s (most of which were about 25 years old even then), and lots of famous figures were hired including Tony Blackburn and Kenny Everett to play all of these poptastic songs and bring back lots of memories. The ratings for this were very impressive, especially as this was a station at the more crackly end of the dial that couldn’t be heard in stereo or anything. vlcsnap-00001

There was another element to the station though, which was the sport coverage. London is rather spoilt for high-profile football clubs, with five or six usually in the top-flight whatever season it is. Although I had watched a little TV coverage when I was younger (although as I have said before I never supported one particular club), I heard rarely listened to any radio coverage, apart from maybe a match or two on the recently relaunched BBC Radio 5 Live. vlcsnap-00718

And then one day in 1994 when I was visiting some relatives, they had the radio on Capital Gold, which had coverage of the FA Cup Final between Chelsea and Manchester United. This was the first time that I remember listing to football coverage on this station, and I was rather struck by it, because it was much more rowdy than anything I’d ever heard on the BBC. I had no idea who the commentator was, but I definitely did notice their enthusiasm, so when the next season launched, I decided that I might have another listen. sport0001

I later discovered that Capital Gold Sportstime had been going since the 1988/89 season, usually on Saturday afternoons, and the presenter and commentator was Jonathan Pearce. It seems that he had already covered a few memorable moments, and as they were repeated so many times over the years I did eventually hear them. These included Arsenal winning the league for the first time in 18 years in 1989, and there was much delight that a London club had won in their first season on air, “The Tears Of Turin” when England were beaten on penalties at the World Cup in Italy in 1990, Arsenal’s cup double in 1993, and England famously going behind to a goal from hapless San Marino in less than ten seconds also in 1993. jp

By the mid-90s, Pearce was beginning to be increasingly well-known, and lent his voice to several football-related adverts, from cereals to computer games. Capital Gold was covering a huge amount of football around this time, and along with Premier League matches, also featuring were the FA Cup and League Cup, and even the Champions League, UEFA Cup, and Cup Winners’ Cup. There were also interviews, phone-ins, and competitions. And in all honesty, because I had no particular affiliation to any club, I took the chance to listen to as many matches as possible, because I never ceased to be surprised by how worked up he became about everything, and he always defended this by simply saying he was a fan with a microphone who was fond of the game.

To pick one match as an example that I remember, in 1997 there was an FA Cup match where Chelsea came from behind to score four goals and knock Liverpool out, which was rather exciting. His profile rose even further following his coverage of England matches when football came home (for a short while) at Euro ’96, and he even gained a newspaper column called “Radio Blah Blah” which only ran for about two weeks.

In 1997, when Channel 5 had an England World Cup qualifier as their first-ever live match, Pearce was hired to commentate, seemingly only because they thought he might start yelling if there was a goal, and indeed he obliged (and famously informed us that this was “the channel that brings you England goals!”). In 1998, Pearce had more TV work as the commentator on BBC2’s Robot Wars. And I remember when Chelsea won the Cup Winners’ Cup and were declared “knockout kings of Europe” (maybe a slight exaggeration there).

Later in 1998, there was much anticipation for his coverage of the World Cup in France. And indeed, hearing Michael Owen’s goal (he was only 18 at the time you know) against Argentina live was a remarkable moment. I also remember Euro 2000, a rare tournament where England didn’t get knocked out on penalties (because they didn’t even get past the group stage), and the big win against Germany in a World Cup qualifier in 2001.

By this point, there were rumours that Pearce might join the BBC, and I remember articles wondering if their listeners were ready for his style and if he would fit in. Pearce’s final match for Capital Gold was the 2002 FA Cup Final (won by Arsenal). After this, the football coverage was much reduced, before vanishing altogether about a year later. Of course, there were plenty of other enjoyable presenters and commentators at the station, but Pearce was the big name. Pearce remains a commentator on football for the BBC, mostly on TV now, to this day. Absolutely magnificent!

More TV Memories – The Premiership.

The Premiership (ITV1, 2001-2004)

A few people have requested that I review Match Of The Day on this blog. But I thought that I would review this one instead. As I have said before, I am not really that big a football fan, but I think that the story of this one is interesting because it’s a perfect example of a show that tried to bring new and innovative features to a trusted format when viewers didn’t want any of that at all.

In 1992, Sky won the rights the show live coverage of the newly-formed Premier League, meaning that top-flight matches would no longer be shown in full on the BBC or ITV, and there was now a good reason to buy a satellite dish. This meant that Match Of The Day was relaunched by the BBC to feature highlights of matches on Saturday nights. This was often hosted by Des Lynam, who had become popular for his laid-back style on various BBC sport shows including Grandstand.

In 1999 there was much surprise when Des defected to ITV, meaning that he would no longer host the show. Then, in 2001 ITV unexpectedly won the rights to the highlights off the BBC for the next three seasons, meaning that Des was suddenly hosting the most high-profile TV football show in the country again, much to his delight. ITV felt that they had to do something different. The plan was to follow the matches throughout the day.

There would be previews in On The Ball in the afternoon, followed by The Goal Rush as results came in, and concluding with the centrepiece of the main show in the evening. With such a big interest in football, how could it fail. The biggest change would be that the main show would be at 7pm, right in primetime, not at 10:30 where it was usually shown on the BBC. Don’t forget to set the video. vlcsnap-00874

This meant that the highlights would have to be complied and edited very quickly. It was considered it would be worth it though. The theme music was U2’s chart-topper “Beautiful Day” (one of the few changes that did last to the end). Along with Des (in a pointlessly large studio), the regular pundits would include Andy Townsend and Ally McCoist, along with commentators Clive Tyldesley and Peter Drury. Where’s Motty gone. vlcsnap-00875

Along with some features and interviews, there would also be ProZone (an example of an idea that isn’t as interesting as it originally seemed and will get dropped almost instantly). This meant that there wasn’t actually much time for the highlights in the 75-minute show. Throw in some immensely irritating sponsorship bumpers for Coca-Cola as well and you have an all-round package that was widely criticised by viewers and critics. vlcsnap-00878

There would also be an extra edition on Monday to reflect on the weekend’s action. By November though, the show had been moved back to the more familiar slot of 10:30 and all the gimmicks had gone. One of the boldest scheduling gambles of its era was a complete flop, with disappointing ratings. All that hype for nothing, it turned out that people would rather watch Blind Date in that slot, who would’ve thought it. vlcsnap-00877

One problem with excessive adverts is that I remember if an edition was scheduled to end at midnight, they seemed to return from a break at about 11:57 and Des would say “highlights from two more matches now”. Are they only going to get about a minute each then, after the show should’ve already ended? The show carried on despite the rather embarrassing collapse of the ITV Sport Channel in 2002. vlcsnap-00880

As far as the actual football goes, this era is best remembered for two titles being won by Arsenal, including their invincible season. In 2004, the rights returned to the BBC, meaning that The Premiership came to an end, and shortly after this, Des, who some felt was a little past his best by this point, left ITV after five years, and he would resurface about a year later as the new host of Countdown.

More TV Memories – Football Italia.

Football Italia (Channel 4, 1992-2002)

This is just about the last sport-related TV show that I want to review, and here’s why. In 1992, Sky gained the rights to the new English Premier League, meaning that most viewers wouldn’t be able to watch top-flight football coverage. But then Channel 4, who have always tried to do something a little different, and following the success of the 1990 World Cup, decided to buy the rights to Serie A.

This is the top-flight of football in Italy, and it attracted a lot of viewers that didn’t have Sky, because they could continue to watch live football, it wasn’t English, but it was still the top-flight! Football Italia would always begin with the familiar Channel 4 symbol turning the colours of the Italian flag, followed by the opening sequence and its memorable theme. vlcsnap-00213

Also attracting viewers were the English players in Serie A, including Paul Gascoigne who had recently moved, and the standard of play was considered to be better than what was on offer in England at the time. Soon teams including Lazio and Sampdoria would became names as familiar as any in England. There would actually be a few shows that made up the coverage. vlcsnap-00214

The main host of Football Italia was James Richardson, who earned a lot of praise for his fresh and witty style, and I remember a lot of critics saying that it was good seeing a football TV show that felt like it was produced in the 90s. There was Gazzetta Football Italia, usually shown on Saturday Mornings, where there would be previews, interviews, and a look at the newspapers (I was always a little surprised that Italy had newspapers entirely dedicated to sport). vlcsnap-00219

Then there was the main show on Sunday afternoons, that featured coverage of a live match. Often, the commentator was Peter Brackley (who also worked for ITV). As far as I know, Peter actually wasn’t in the stadium, but in a studio in London. His commentating was so accurate though you would never have noticed. Peter would later go on to provide commentary for the Pro Evolution Soccer computer game series. vlcsnap-00222

One match that I do remember was when Peter said with a tone of surprise “and it’s a goal! The angle looked impossible!” after someone scored from almost next to the corner flag. Veteran commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme also contributed to reports about the current happenings in the league, and most shows would end with a look at the league table and top scorers. Pundits joining James included Ray Wilkins and Paul Elliott. vlcsnap-00221

And there was also Mezzanote, where a pre-recorded game would be shown in full in a late-night slot. Also among the memorable moments was when Lazio won the title on the last day of the season in 2000. The show quickly gained good ratings and was popular enough for a while for there to even be an hour-long VHS released, containing some of the best goals featured over the seasons. vlcsnap-00220

Unfortunately, after about a decade, with the Premier League having long-since taken off, Channel 4 began to lose interest in Football Italia, and stopped showing live matches, before it all came to an end in 2002. After going around the sport channels for a few years, a similar show launched on Five in 2007 (the almost identically-titled Football Italiano), but this lasted for only one season, before Italian football finally left the main TV channels.

More TV Memories – Saint And Greavsie.

Saint And Greavsie (ITV, 1985-1992)

As it’s a Saturday Afternoon, I thought that I would take a look back at something that was shown regularly in a Saturday Afternoon timeslot, and for a brief while it became an institution. As I have said before, I have never been that good at playing sport myself, but I have watched a lot of TV shows about sport over the years, so here’s the story behind this one.

Saint And Greavsie was a show all about sport (with the emphasis on football) that was hosted by Ian St John and Jimmy Greaves. They were both footballers in the 60s, Ian played for Liverpool and Scotland, while Jimmy played for Chelsea, Tottenham, and England (where he was one of the most prolific goalscorers of his era). After this, they both got into TV punditry, and in the early-80s they were paired together to host the On The Ball segment of World Of Sport. vlcsnap-00917

By this point, they had successfully become a rather unlikely but entertaining double-act with viewers, so after World Of Sport ended in 1985, they got their own spin-off show. Jimmy became known for having a rather light-hearted take on sporting affairs, and Ian practically became Jimmy’s straight-man, as he often came to the conclusion “it’s a funny old game” to much laughter. For some reason the show’s theme for many years was “Aztec Gold”, introduced for ITV’s coverage of the 1986 World Cup. Well why let it go to waste. vlcsnap-00924

Saint And Greavsie was designed to preview the forthcoming weekend sporting fixtures (including the ones that could be shown on ITV). There would also be highlights of the week’s league and cup games in England and Scotland, along with reports and interviews from Peter Brackley, Martin Tyler, and Jim Rosenthal (who Jimmy liked to call “Rosie”). The studio would also be used later in the day for ITV Results Service where we discovered how all the teams got on with Elton Welsby. vlcsnap-00929

The show became popular enough for Jimmy to soon be appearing elsewhere on TV, including as TV-am’s television critic, and as a captain on game show Sporting Triangles, and in 1989 they featured in a trivia computer game. They also played a major part in ITV’s coverage of the 1990 World Cup in Italy, and even earned themselves a few TV Times covers. There was also one memorable edition in December 1990 when Jimmy was unavailable so he was replaced by his Spitting Image puppet (voiced by Peter Brackley, who would go on to be the commentator for Channel 4’s innovative Football Italia), and Ian didn’t seem to notice the difference. vlcsnap-00928

There would also be a few competitions including Goal Of The Season where there were some big prizes on offer. In 1991, the show was extended to from 30 minutes to 45, but this would turn out to be the final series. In 1992, Sky had won the rights to show live coverage of the newly-formed Premier League, and although ITV still had coverage of the lower leagues, it was decided to bring the show to an end. vlcsnap-00925

One of the reasons for this was that it was felt with no analysis of the Premier League possible, they wouldn’t have much left to talk about (as was memorably mocked on Fantasy Football League). Despite this, Ian and Jimmy continued to contribute to various ITV Sport shows until the mid-90s. They then reunited to host an interactive DVD game together during the brief craze for those, along with a book. And in 2009, they were hired to contribute to satellite channel Setanta Sport’s coverage of the FA Cup Final. The channel closed about a week later, but they insisted that it wasn’t their fault.

More TV Memories – Football First/The Goal Rush.

Football First (ITV2, 1998-2001)/The Goal Rush (ITV1/ITV2, 2001-2003)

You will know if you a regular visitor to this blog that although I’ve never had any talent for playing sport, I have watched a lot of sports shows on TV over the years, and this is one with an interesting story. In 1998 digital channel ITV2 launched, and on Saturday afternoons there would be a fast-moving show that featured all the latest football results in England and Scotland. Well they had to find something to fill their schedules with when they were still working out what the channel should be about.

It was called Football First and was originally hosted by Graham Beacroft, who has also been a commentator on the radio for many years at various stations including TalkSport. The screen would be split into several parts, with the equivalent of Grandstand‘s Vidiprinter along the bottom with all the latest goals (and red cards!). Along with reporters at a few grounds, there would also be pundits in the studio to offer their views on the action. I suppose you could say it was an attempt to bring the ITV Results Service into the new millennium. vlcsnap-00403

This show was the first time that I had been able to watch such coverage for the whole of the match, and not just as the full-time results came in. As ITV didn’t have the rights to Premiership highlights at this point, there was more emphasis on the lower league games. Now, if you are beginning to think that this is all rather similar to Sky Sports’s Soccer Saturday with Jeff Stelling… well, it was really. vlcsnap-00411

But I didn’t have access to that show at this point and I didn’t see it until Sky Sports News launched on Freeview in the early-2000s. After a few seasons of Football First, something significant then happened. In 2001 ITV did acquire the rights to Premiership highlights for three seasons, and they wanted to make a big deal out of it, including the return of On The Ball (a format that had been around since the World Of Sport days), and the ill-fated idea of having the main show on Saturdays at 7pm that backfired very quickly (but how that all played out is another story). vlcsnap-00416

The decision was made to relaunch Football First as The Goal Rush, and it would now be hosted by Angus Scott. Although the whole of the show remained on ITV2, at around 4:30pm coverage would also be on ITV1 for the climax of the top-flight matches (and there would also be plenty of promotion for the ITV Sport Channel, another bold idea that went awry). vlcsnap-00408

However, The Goal Rush didn’t return for the third and final season of Premiership coverage in 2003, and in 2004 the rights returned to the BBC, where Match Of The Day continues to this day. Since then, the BBC have also expanded their Final Score show to last all afternoon, where it remains an intriguing watch. And I have managed to do a whole piece looking back at ITV’s Premiership coverage without making a sarcastic reference to The Tactics Truck. Oh no!

The YouTube Files – 30 Years Of Grandstand.

Grandstand (BBC1, 1988)

A while back I reviewed some sport programmes including Grandstand. Wanting to have another look back at these type of shows, I recently found on YouTube some highlights from the 30th anniversary edition of Grandstand that was shown on BBC1 on 8 October 1988 (the BBC Genome’s entry for this edition is simply “see panel”, and then the panel isn’t there which is rather frustrating).

The time is 12:15pm and Des Lynam (before he cleared off to ITV) is once again about to introduce a busy afternoon of sport action, today is the 1,777th edition. They even made a sign specially and everything! We begin with the BBC Sport symbol that had only just been introduced and would be used until 1992. We then have the original opening sequence from 1958 (“today’s sport as it happens”). vlcsnap-00905

There is then a montage of all the memorable sporting moments that had been shown hundreds of times even then (the 1966 World Cup Final and so on), and all these were probably shown again on the final edition in 2007. Des tells us that Grandstand is the longest-running TV sports programme in the world, and he is very grateful about that. And the idea behind Grandstand hasn’t changed in these 30 years. vlcsnap-00910

This afternoon’s sport (before Sky bought it all off them) includes golf, racing and motor sport. Des then interviews Harry Carpenter who worked on the first edition, and today is at the golf (although I believe that it’s a myth that he was once introduced as “your carpenter is Harry Commentator”). John Motson reviews the week’s European football, and Steve Rider has a motor sport update. vlcsnap-00900

There is also some top racing from Ascot, and as it was on day one, the commentator is Peter O’Sullevan. Now his was a great voice that I remember from coverage on Saturday afternoons for many years, and he is also interviewed by Des about his memories. Shortly after retiring in 1997, O’Sullevan was knighted for his outstanding service to talking very quickly. vlcsnap-00904

Then we have the football results with the vidiprinter. Des remembers the old days when the teleprinter used to rattle them out, but modern technology has now taken over. Pools coupon at the ready. One of the results in Division Two is Blackburn 5 Crystal Palace 4, that sounds like a right old whizz-bang of a humdinger. And then, wait, is Des packing up and going? vlcsnap-00661

No, he’s going over to the other side of the studio to introduce us to some more of the highly professional team, including another who has contributed since day one. It’s Len Martin who is sat in the corner and has all the football results, and still remembers when Tottenham put ten past Everton, you got value for money in those days. Len left Grandstand in 1995. vlcsnap-00907

Des finishes off this special edition by telling us what used to follow Grandstand in its earliest days. Now… who was that man? It was The Lone Ranger, and that show’s theme brings this show to an end instead of the more familiar regular theme. What an entertaining trip back in time. Don’t forget that there are golf highlights on BBC2 at 12:35am.

More TV Memories – Football League Extra.

Football League Extra (ITV, 1994-2004)

In 1996, a got a video recorder for Christmas. Before this, I had to use the one in the front room if I ever wanted to record anything, but now I had one in my bedroom I decided to set the timer for all kinds of odd late night things to discover what they were like, and Football League Extra was one of those programmes. Live football coverage has long since gone to Sky, and highlights of Premier League matches now appear on Match Of The Day, while throughout the 90s highlights of the second, third and fourth tier matches (which were sponsored by Nationwide in the mid-90s) were shown on ITV. vlcsnap-01393

Football League Extra at this point was hosted by Gabriel Clarke from a different ground every week, for example in the edition that I am reviewing he was at West Bromwich Albion’s ground The Hawthorns, and the theme music was “Little Britain” by Dreadzone. As I have said before, although I have never been good at playing sport myself, I have watched plenty of sport coverage over the years, and I particularly wanted to record a specific edition of Football League Extra when I heard about a remarkable incident which featured in one of the matches in January 1997. vlcsnap-01402

There was a match in the second tier between Port Vale and QPR, were Port Vale were leading 4-1 with five minutes to go, but QPR ended up with a 4-4 draw! Well the commentators Peter Brackley and Jimmy Greaves couldn’t believe it! I believe that the 1996-97 season was the last time in most regions that a second tier match was shown live on Sundays. I also remember Peter Brackley commentating on Channel 4’s Football Italia at the time too. vlcsnap-01403

Football League Extra also featured various interviews with people in football and the latest news, and there was also a nostalgic feature, where highlights of a classic game from the archive were shown. The match in this edition was from April 1990 where Liverpool beat Chelsea (sponsored by Commodore in those days retro computer fans) which would send them on their way to their 18th (and currently final) league title. vlcsnap-01405

One thing that is interesting looking back at this show now is how much the fortunes of some clubs have changed over the years, with some clubs who were lower down the league at the time now in the Premier League, and some clubs higher up the league now being much lower down, or even out of the league altogether. The end of the programme featured the league tables and some statistics about what had happened in the weekend’s matches. vlcsnap-01404

One of the reasons that Football League Extra came back into my mind recently was because after a few years on the BBC, Football League highlights for the first time this season are on Channel 5, and there has been much debate about their presentation of the coverage since the start of the season. ITV’s Football League Extra was about 45 minutes long (half the length of the current Channel 5 show) and was usually shown on Mondays around 1am (the current show is in a much more prominent Saturday at 9pm slot). There have also been complaints about Channel 5’s coverage coming across as gimmicky, ITV’s show was certainly not in front of a studio audience for example. It really goes to show you how much TV coverage of sport and sport itself has changed over the years.

The YouTube Files – Grandstand.

Grandstand (BBC1, 1958-2007)

In one of my previous pieces on here I reviewed ITV Sport’s Results Service, the show on Saturday afternoon where they featured the football results. Now it’s time to review the BBC’s equivalent Final Score which was shown as part of Grandstand for many years. The example I’m using was shown on 21 March 1992 and uploaded to YouTube by “BiroWyb2” so credit goes to them. vlcsnap-00572

Saturdays always seemed to be exciting on BBC1 when I was younger. After the CBBC Saturday Morning show ended after over three hours, you’d then get about five hours of the latest exciting sport action in Grandstand, followed by lots of great primetime entertainment shows. Grandstand ended with the segment Final Score, which featured the day’s football results. It was usually hosted in the 80s and 90s by Desmond Lynam, Bob Wilson, or, as in the example I’m using, Steve Rider, and all of them handled this fast-moving segment of the show well. vlcsnap-00568

The style in which the results were received was of course distinctive and memorable. In the early days of the show the teleprinter was used, but as technology advanced, the computerised vidiprinter was introduced. I am sure that lots of people will remember the late goal flashes and results scrolling on the screen and the weird veep-veep-veep noise that accompanied them. There were also reports from the ground from the likes of Tony Gubba as the matches reached their conclusion. Come on Tony, just when we need you… vlcsnap-00574

A lot of people used to watch to discover the fate of their team and their rivals for that week. One of the most memorable things about the vidiprinter was when a team scored seven or more goals in a game the number was also spelled out. As far as I know, the highest ever score to appear was a Scottish Cup match in December 1984 that finished Stirling Albion 20 (TWENTY) Selkirk 0. vlcsnap-00567

Once enough results had come in it would be time for the classified check. Cue every other comedian having a “why are the results classified if they’re public knowledge?” routine. They would be read out by Len Martin or Tim Gudgin and they could both do that thing where you would know what the result would be just from the tone of their voice. vlcsnap-00569

Then it’s time for a look at the league tables. What with this being near the end of the final season before the Premier League came along in England, there aren’t many games left to play. Will Leeds become the champions? It’s possible. Also featuring in the relegation zone are Luton and Notts County, who did go down, and they haven’t been back in the top flight since. vlcsnap-00570

There would also be a look at the pools news, so get your coupons ready to discover those all-important score draws. The results carried on being reported like this until the end of the 2000-2001 season, at which point Final Score became a programme in its own right and the technology was modernised. After Grandstand ended in 2007, the show continued and can now be watched for the whole afternoon on the red button.