Has BBC Political Correctness Wrecked `Sportscene` ?Date: Saturday, 8th Aug 2020
There was considerable excitement and anticipation at the prospect of the return of Saturday night "Sportscene" after a long absence of 18 years.
That was because the Scottish Football Public had inferred the programme was going to be the hugely successful line up of Jonathan Sutherland,Steven Thomson and Michael Stewart.
They are a marriage made in heaven because they are experienced, intelligent, articulate, get on well together and their sense of fun and banter reflects that. Few BBC Scotland programmes get a bigger audience, It was the Jewel in their crown. (Much the same could be said of "Championship Sportscene". Few BBC Scotland programmes can match its audience either, hence the marked improvement in its production values last season).
What on earth have they done? That excellent team has now been broken up.Were they leaned on?
Some crticics have suggested this is the familiar London based tick box political correctness given they are inflicting Shelley Kerr, Leanne Crichton and Julie Fleeting on us. For some time now these women have failed on the likes of "Saturday Sportscene Results" where a kindly experienced Presenter such as David Currie has rescued them repeatedly.
On "Championship Sportscene" they are similarly rescued by Steven Thomson.They detract from both programmes. Both Presenters have had to resort to questions where the reply was framed by the question.
You know the sort of thing, Steven: "Well, Leanne. Do you think 25 goal Kevin Nisbet benefitted from moving to Raith Rovers, where the striker scored 34 goals, after his disappointing experience at Partick Thistle"? Leanne: "Yes Steven, Moving to Raith was quite a benefit. He had not set the heather on fire at Thistle".
Yes they are intelligent, articulate and friendly but they are experts on the Women`s game. They do not have the background knowledge of the Men`s Game outwith the big five clubs so the expertise and spontaneity are jettisoned to the detriment of the programme.
It brings back memories for our older fans of the comparable programme three decades ago and more; when the guests would always be a dim inarticulate former Rangers or Celtic player, whose knowledge of football out with the Glasgow City limits was limited.
The result was that, when called upon to comment on some provincial club, they would latch onto the one former Old Firm player they knew eg someone like Ian Ferguson or Tommy Gemmell.
They do have some excellent guests like Marvin Bartley and James McFadden, who merge their considerable knowledge of the game with a great ability to poke fun at themselves.
Marvin is popular and articulate and particularly renowned for his self effacing humour. However, playing at the highest level, his views carry considerable weight. Neither is a pundit however.
This has been a great disappointment..The BBC should have a look at Fans Forums such as the Pars` DAFC.net forum !
There is a suggestion that what we are currently witnessing is very much a BBC experiment. Stung by a week of criticism , BBC Scotland announced on, Saturday 8th, that, over the weekend, internationalists Leanne Crichton, Craig Gordon, Shaun Maloney, Chris Iwelumo (whose career has been in England from 1998) and Michael Stewart would be involved. Michael featured in that evening`s Saturday "Sportscene " programme.
So there we are; but you do not mend anything unless it is broken.