ITV F1 have won their second Baftas in two years. For the many non-British readers of this blog, the Baftas are the most prestigious television awards in the country — our equivalent of the Emmys.
Can you guess which race they won it for?
The Canadian Grand Prix
The most dire F1 broadcast of last year. The programme was so bad that ITV were inundated with complaints and even offered an “apology”, although it was more of a “lame excuse” if you ask me. Strangely, however, the apology has completely disappeared from the ITV-F1 website, Stalin-style. In its place is a mysterious article entitled ‘How BMW turned its form around’ that contains no text. Were ITV worried in case the Bafta academy saw it? (The original article lives on in the Web Archive.)
Even if you are a Lewis Hamilton fan, ITV’s coverage of the Canadian Grand Prix was less than fitting of the Brit’s maiden win. The coverage was abruptly cut short immediately after the podium ceremony. There was no press conference and not even a sniff of analysis — just a rushed wrap-up.
Even James Allen’s usually awful commentary reached a pretty low nadir as he messed up Hamilton’s chequered flag moment. He started his “winning yelp” far too early which just made him sound a bit silly: “LEWIS HAMILTOOOOON……… … … … [checks watch]… … [reads newspaper] ……WIIIIIIIIIIIIIINNNNNS!” (Check the audio here.)
Furthermore, no other Grand Prix last year was littered so much with adverts. 17 minutes and 15 seconds of race action was missed by British viewers because of ITV. That is over 16% of the race. It is also around three minutes more than even the next most advert-interrupted race. If this happened during a football match there would be nothing short of outrage, and you can bet your bottom dollar it wouldn’t win a Bafta.
ITV won a Bafta last year for its coverage of the 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix. This also “happened” to be another maiden win for a Brit, Jenson Button. But that was also if anything a sub-standard ITV broadcast as Martin Brundle, the only decent person on the ITV F1 team, was not present.
As with Craig from Craigblog, I am spotting a pattern here. No matter how bad their coverage is, ITV F1 will win a Bafta as long a Brit wins a Grand Prix for the first time. We all know that no matter how good their coverage was, ITV would not have won that Bafta unless Lewis Hamilton had won. In which case, the Bafta should go to Lewis Hamilton, not ITV / North One. And last year’s should be handed to Jenson Button.
Bafta are an absolute disgrace. If academy members had carried out even a cursory web search they would have found out that ITV’s coverage of the 2007 Canadian Grand Prix attracted several complaints. Moreover, they would have found out that the vast majority of F1 fans are less than enamoured about ITV’s approach towards F1.
I wrote about ITV winning their Bafta last year. Today, it is one of the most popular posts on the blog (908 visits in the last week alone, compared to 520 for the 2nd most popular post and 255 for the third most popular).
Let us not also forget that no less an authority than Ross Brawn has criticised ITV’s coverage of Formula 1. And I haven’t even touched on the overwhelming Hammy-hype. We F1 fans really have got a bum deal from ITV, and the fact that they are showered with praise in MSM backslapping events just rubs salt into the wound. It widens the ever-growing divide between we fans on the ground and our overlords in the mainstream media.
All I can say is, thank goodness F1 coverage is moving back to the BBC next year. I don’t think I can stand much more of this.
Now where’s the sick bucket?