Over on DigitalSpy there is a long thread going on about F1. With strong rumours circulating that Martin Brundle has told the BBC that he can’t work going forward with Jonathan Legard then it looks like one or both of them will be leaving the commentary box on the BBC next season. Most people want Ben Edwards in or just promote both David Croft and Anthony Davidson from the 5Live coverage.
Here are my thoughts on the situation as I posted over there:
As one of the casual observers and F1 watcher I’d like to bring what the average person thinks to this discussion.
They like Martin Brundle. They don’t like Jonathan Legard. They don’t know who the other commentators are.
I have watched the Practice sessions so do but your average F1 watcher for qualifying and the race do not. The average ‘Joe Public’ like Brundle and have done for years. He was part of the last great F1 commentary team in most people’s eyes. His relationship with James Allen was often questioned but deep down they had a respect and understanding. Allen knew that Brundle had insightful things to say and let him say them. Legard seems to want to call everything.
Murray and Martin had a very simple technique when they wanted to talk and the other one was – they tapped each other on the shoulder and it worked. They very very rarely spoke over each other. As far as I’m aware JA and MB used the same communication technique. I have no idea if JL and MB use it but it doesn’t seem like it. Even if something big happens when MB is talking JL feels the need to call it and that is where for me (and most people I speak to) the problem is. This isn’t like football where your colour guy is rarely talking in the middle of a clear goal scoring opportunity – things happen in F1 at anytime.
In cricket they do have lead and colour guys but whoever is talking when a wicket falls or any big event finishes the call and the other guy will chip in with their thoughts when the call is over.
JL needs to get over the ‘I’m the play-by-play announcer’ spiel as even though he is – MB can call live action if he is in the middle of talking. I don’t want MB as the lead play-by-play guy but if he’s talking when something big happens then he can do that. Murray let him do it and James let him do it. Commentators do it in most other sports so why can’t JL do it?
Your average Joe Public would want Murray back but that isn’t happening so all in all they don’t care as long as whoever comes in works well with MB.
To use an old Ferrari term when they signed Rubens – think of A.N.Other New Commentator as Commentator 1a and MB as 1b. That is how it has worked well in the past and how it can work well in the future. James Allen would be fine as long as he toned down his love of the Brits. His voice came across as too faked at times (probably trying to be more Murray like) and he didn’t need to. However he did (and still does) know the sport inside and out so he would be an option that most would be ok with.
As for Ben Edwards – he suffers from ‘Gareth Barry’ syndrome. All the time he’s not there he becomes a better and better commentator. Whether he’ll do a good or great job we won’t know until they try but if you ask every one of the five million or so people who they would like to lose least from the F1 team then it would be MB (followed by JH) and who they would like to see go most it would be JL I’m sure.
To read my thoughts on DC joining Brundle in the Comms Box for 2011 then please follow this link
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