World Cup: Forget the Football, Focus on the Pundits – BBC part 2

10 Jul

In this article, the second installment of a series of features looking beyond the football at the World Cup, the first of which can be found here, I will focus on those commentators and experts, who provide the words to the pictures we see (or in ITV’s case, those adverts that we see). From the melodic delivery of Jonathan Pearce right through to the dry-humour of Mick McCarthy, the BBC have provided a variety of so-called experts to guide the viewer through the maze of football on offer.

Starting with the commentators, the afore-mentioned Jeff Stelling look-a-like Pearce (see below) is a regular on Match of the Day, having received a grounding in the commentary world after his stint on Robot Wars. He is able to articulate his thoughts to the viewer with relative ease, whilst always remaining creative and original. Alongside him is fellow Match of the Day stalwart Guy Mowbray, covering his fourth World Cup, who is rated as the number one BBC commentator, despite never truly convincing yours truly.


Completing the quartet of verbally adept persona are Simon Brotherton and Steve Wilson. Both are safe hands, never likely to profess controversial views, whilst the duo are easy listening, allow the expert accompanying them to provide the analysis. Although there is a distinct lack of instantly recognisable voices, ala John Motson, I honestly feel that the BBC’s decision to remove the statistic-loving Motson from commentary duties has been a successful one, with viewers now liberated from his endless droning.

Alongside them have been the varying qualities of McCarthy, Martin Keown, Mark Lawrenson and last, and most definitely least, Mark Bright. Starting with the latter, in a futile attempt to get him out of the way, Bright is seriously in need of elocution lessons. He always seems to breathe heavily after giving his ‘expert’ insight, as if the effort of saying something of actual interest is too challenging a demand. Fortunately, the BBC producers have realised the limit of his capabilities, as he can often be heard commentating on the least attractive match of the day, for instance North Korea v Ivory Coast.

Former Liverpool defender Lawrenson could be compared, in a sense, to the X Factor. Dividing the nation in two, there are those who firmly believe that his sarcastic put-downs and attempts at humour are a thing of beauty and a joy to behold, while there are others, myself included, who can’t stand ‘Lawro’. Not content with his appalling weekly Premier League predictions for the BBC website, Lawrenson adds nothing to the game to which he has been assigned. Whilst other pundits can be witty, interesting and enjoyable to listen to, he is the exact opposite, grating on the ear and failing in his feeble forays into the comedy world.

Fortunately, some element of normality is restored by Martin Keown, whose broadcasting ability is largely underrated. Quiet and controlled in his delivery, the former Arsenal hard-man is certainly one pundit who speaks a lot of sense.

Finally, we arrive at the door of Wolves manager, and former City player, Michael Joseph ‘Mick’ McCarthy. Despite coming across as negative, McCarthy is, in my humble opinion, the leading co-commentator in the BBC empire. Fresh, witty and a genuine character, he enlivens any game he covers, bringing it to life with his accurate observations, delivered in that unforgettable tone of his.

So that sums up my complete review of the BBC coverage, on television, of the world-cup. Please feel free to comment, and thanks for taking the time to read.


4 Responses to “World Cup: Forget the Football, Focus on the Pundits – BBC part 2”

  1. CHED EVANS IS MY HERO!! 12/07/2010 at 6:37 pm #

    Mark Bright is byfar the best commentator!!! What a joke! I must be the only person to have voted for him!

    • View From A Blue 12/07/2010 at 7:09 pm #

      Haha, he’s awful! Just checked the results of the poll: You ARE the only person to vote for Mark Bright!!! 9 people have voted for Keown and Lawrenson, but 187 have voted McCarthy!

      • CHED EVANS IS MY HERO!! 13/07/2010 at 5:29 pm #

        Well some idiots must read this blog Esteban!!! You okay for Ricky’s?

  2. View From A Blue 13/07/2010 at 6:40 pm #

    Ouch! I’d hope my readers are an intellectual bunch! Weirdly, some Wolves fan’s website found this blog and posted a link to it on their forum, so that provided most of the vies, and therefore all the support for Mick!

    Yep, I’m okay for the Zizzi part, but doubtful for the pub visit, for various reasons.

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