The End Of An Era
The end of an era
The death of Peter Alliss last weekend has marked the end of an era in British sports broadcasting. Many of us grew up listening to Sid Waddell (Darts), Peter O’Sullivan (Horse Racing), Dan Maskell (Tennis), Ritchie Benaud (Cricket), Bill McClaren (Rugby Union) and David Coleman (Athletics) to name but a few. These were the days when we only had three television channels to watch and nearly every major sporting event was covered by the BBC. This made household names out of the lead commentator and even up this against stiff competition Alliss more than held his own.
My favourite piece of Alliss commentary was at the 1991 Ryder Cup at Kiawah Island when the outcome of the contest depended upon the last singles match between Bernhard Langer and Hale Irwin. As Langer stood over the critical and deciding 6 foot putt on the last hole Alliss commented “Not since before 1939 have so many Englishman cheered for a German”. It was of course politically incorrect, but it provided a, light-hearted moment when sporting tension was at its upmost.
The BBC now of course, don’t like the sport of golf, as itsresources seem focused on BBC executives enjoying strawberries and cream during the Wimbledon fortnight as the corporation focuses on Tennis, Tennis and more Tennis. This means we can only look back and reflect on the halcyon days of golf on mainstream TV in the company of a broadcasting legend.