Colin Murray Dropped As BBC's Match Of The Day Presenter Next Season
BBC pundit Colin Murray "is to be dropped" as the Match of the Day 2 presenter next season, according to Charles Sale of the London DAILY MAIL. Murray has anchored the Sunday highlights show for two years since Adrian Chiles moved to ITV. He "is to be replaced by rising BBC star" Mark Chapman, who is "regarded as a more suitable host for a programme that increasingly features the most important Premier League matches of the weekend." It is understood that Murray had "irritated a number of BBC football pundits by the way he criticised players." Chapman will be expected to ask his fellow pundits, such as Alan Hansen, "more questions rather than giving his own opinions as Murray preferred to do in his irreverent presenter's role." BBC Sport had previously denied "the new year speculation that Murray was on his way out." A spokesperson, however, "finally confirmed" the exit on Monday (DAILY MAIL, 1/22). In London, Dominic King wrote criticizing the BBC "in recent months has been easy," but now it deserves "congratulating for taking the first step towards saving a national treasure," on Tuesday. The "decision to banish the charmless" Murray from the Match of the Day 2 sofa and replace him with Chapman is "recognition from the BBC's top brass that measures must be taken to preserve the integrity and reputation of a programme that has spanned generations." After dropping Murray, how will the BBC "continue to make the improvements required that will get the MOTD brand back to the required standard?" The first step is to "let the pundits argue." It could send "one of the pundits to a game" to do "a brief video diary." It should "have a proper shake up of the pundits," as "some, plainly, are not doing enough" (DAILY MAIL, 1/22).
VIEWERS DIVIDED: In London, Barney Ronay wrote on the London GUARDIAN's The Sport Blog as a presenter Murray "divides opinion." Some viewers "have been irritated by the sense of relentlessly room temperature badinage, the feeling of being cajoled into a kind of flabby fixed grin banter-sphere, a strangely needy additional persona around the lighted punditry table." Others, however, "will mourn the passing of a presenter who at least attempted to bring to terrestrial television something of the way normal people speak about football" (GUARDIAN, 1/22).