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Saturday, September 03, 2011

The dangers of live television

Apparently, TV host Ortis Deley has been dropped as Channel 4's main presenter of its world athletics coverage after an excruciating series of blunders.

The Guardian says that until this week the 38-year-old broadcaster, first talent-spotted as a contestant on Blind Date, had enjoyed a blameless career, mainly in children's and youth programmes on cable stations and at the BBC. For the past two years, he had co-presented Channel 5's The Gadget Show:

In the course of a few hapless days, Deley repeatedly stumbled over the names of star athletes ("the Honourable Leo Usain Bolt") and his trackside commentators. He called Oscar Pistorius, the South African double-amputee "the fastest man on no legs".

He invented events ("the men's 100-metre hurdles"), forgot commercial breaks, missed links, paused for long moments to consult his script, corrected himself endlessly, asked his studio guest – the four-times Olympic gold medal-winning sprinter, Michael Johnson – whether he was a pole vaulter, and concluded one broadcast with the memorable sign-off: "So we have a gloriously sunny day here in the studio. We've seen some action this morning as well. Jessica Ennis. Good night."

Judge for yourself.

Oh dear. That really wasn't good.
Why sack him, he'll be good on the Live at the Apollo show.
It just goes to show what a skill live television presentation is. I think it is rather unfair that Ortis has been put in this position. He had no live broadcasting experience that I know of. Compare that to John Inverdale, who is his equivalent on the BBC. Inverdale has years of live TV and radio experience. I watched him preparing his pieces at Birmingham's Aviva event. This is a great skill we're talking about, and unfortunately doing recorded inserts for programmes does not prepare you fully for it. I feel very sorry for the man. Rick Edwards, who has replaced him, is obviously more fluent, but even he was struggling a bit this morning.
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