Des Lynam fury at BBC as Beeb change ‘tradition’ and scrap reading of 5pm football scores

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Former BBC presenter Des Lynam has explained his fury after the corporation decided to scrap the reading of the classified football results. The results had previously been read at 5pm on a Saturday for eight decades as part of BBC Radio 5 Live’s Sports Report.

“It seems cheap,” the 79-year-old said. “It has been going for 50 to 60 years so why change it at all? It feels like change for change’s sake. It’s tradition and I guess traditions come and go but I know that the older people will miss it greatly. It was part of the Saturday night routine. You would get into the car after the game and the scores would come on.”

Lynam was a star face at the BBC for 30 years, before leaving the corporation to join ITV in 1999 and ultimately retiring from presenting live sport in 2004. The Brighton supporter presented Sports Report from 1970 to 1977 on Radio 2. And he has admitted that he hopes the BBC will reverse their decision.

“It feels like a lifetime ago when I introduced it,” he continued. “But it was bang – the famous Sports Report tune – and then the results, which gave us five minutes to think about who we were interviewing.

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“Some people feel like they have to make changes and freshen things up – new department heads putting their stamp on things. I remember someone came in and changed the theme tune to Match of the Day. They almost burned down Television Centre. They soon changed their mind on that and hopefully will do so here.”

The classified results were made famous by the late James Alexander Gordon, before he was replaced by Charlotte Green in 2013. And Lynam has been quick to pay tribute to Green. “She has a wonderful voice,” he added. “It’s not easy to get the inflection right so you immediately know after the home team who has won. ‘Manchester United one, Brighton two,’ for example. I was ecstatic with that.”

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Following the axing of the results service, a spokesperson for the BBC explained the decision. “With the addition of the 5.30pm live Premier League match to our coverage, Sports Report has been condensed into a shorter programme.

“We will still offer a comprehensive goal service throughout the day on air and on the BBC Sport website as well as Final Score on BBC One. We would like to thank everyone who has read the classified football results on 5 Live over the years.”

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