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TV: B is for...

Big Match, The

BRIAN MOORE-HELMED ITV rival to MATCH OF THE DAY, originally only shown in London leading to insane capital bias: “Coming up, Liverpool v Manchester United, but first to Selhurst Park…” Heralded by that joyous march, accompanied by a frenzied fresco of evocative football images: Terry Hennessey winking at Moore, Dennis Tueart frozen in bicycle kick mid-air etc. JIMMY HILL was also originally involved, memorably covering for an injured linesman at Highbury in a fetching turquoise tracksuit, and bizarrely accompanying Raquel Welch to Stamford Bridge: “These guys are just such great athletes!”. Other ITV regions had their own versions, featuring a dizzying array of eccentric commentators such as Hugh Johns (ATV), Gerald Sinstadt (Granada), John Helm (Yorkshire) and Gerry Harrison (Anglia).



  1. wilberforce

    August 18, 2010 at 10:48 am

    Yes, as a fan of football (as opposed to a football-fan) the London-centric obsession seemed absurd to me (especially as I lived 150 miles away from The Smoke in the football wastelands of the south coast), but presumably in those days the producers reasoned the fans wouldn’t watch unless their own local teams were heavily featured (how times have changed…)

    As a result, it always seemed to feature what seemed the entire 90 minutes of the Gooners grinding their way to a 1-0 victory (thus inspiring the ironic terrace chants), followed by 5 minutes squeezed in at the end where Gerald Sinstadt would go almost hoarse with excitement commentating on a 5-goal thriller at Anfield or Maine Road…

    • Glenn Aylett

      March 24, 2019 at 4:54 pm

      Often not shown in the Border region, where Scotsport and Jim Montfort ruled supreme. Typical highlights would be a ” thrilling” derby between Kilmarnock and Motherwell that would end up 0-0. I’d say south of Gretna you could hear everyone switching over to avoid Montfort and his thrilling games.

  2. MikeyC

    July 23, 2011 at 12:40 am

    ..and Brian Moore’s head did look uncannily like London Planetarium

  3. richardpd

    March 24, 2019 at 8:54 pm

    Jim Rosenthal co-presented in the early 1980s.

    I remember catching a repeat of edition from 1983 a few years ago, which featured an indifferent performance from Aston Villa, who were European Cup holders at the time.

    • Glenn Aylett

      February 15, 2020 at 1:00 pm

      Rosenthal, who came to ITV from Sport on 2, was brought in to gradually replace the ageing Dickie Davies in World Of Sport and give ITV Sport more gravitas. Indeed he could say that when he joined ITV in 1982, it was still showing clown diving and pro wrestling, and when he left the sports department was vastly more respected.

      • THX 1139

        February 15, 2020 at 1:28 pm

        Not by me – I liked the clown diving, double decker bus racing, dragsters, lumberjacking and of course, the proper, British wrestling.

        • Glenn Aylett

          February 15, 2020 at 3:29 pm

          Actually so did I, World Of Sport was a lot more light hearted than Grandstand, but the powers that be in ITV decided they wanted a more serious approach to sport and cancelled the programme in 1985. I’d much rather watch Evil Knievel jump a row of London buses than a dire 0-0 draw in a typical rundown eighties football ground.

          • Joanne

            April 6, 2020 at 7:41 pm

            I have to agree. I preferred the more obscure “sports” on World of Sport (grapple fan here too).

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