Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 28 May 2016

Beeb ensures that running costs are frozen solid

Billy on the Box

Published 29/03/2013

It is reassuring in these austere times that the guardians of the nation, the BBC, are cutting their cloth accordingly and confining their troops to base.

In bygone days events such as the World Cross Country Championships in Poland and the World Cup Rowing in Australia would have had the sports department whooping with delight and heading towards the airport.

Not anymore, it was a studio at home for Jonathan Edwards on Sunday where he was joined by Paula Radcliffe with Steve Cram in a wee cupboard wearing massive headphones and commentating while watching TV.

The fact that the event was being held in a freezing field in a place called Bydgoszcz – a town in desperate need of a vowel – may have had something to do with it. There's also the small matter that most countries that aren't Kenya or Ethiopia gave up cross country when they left school.

It is refreshing to see the list of winners though, the women's race reading like a W.I. roll call with Margaret, Janet, Beatrice, Irene, Agnes and Emily all in action and not a Kylie, Jordan or Chardonnay in sight.

There was a Katherine alongside John Inverdale for the rowing, the queen of the waves Grainger, joining him at Eton Dorney as the Olympic legacy continues apace.

"Brisk is one way of describing conditions here, where the women's Boat Race between..." I'll let you guess who got to the final again, but if it was ladies keeping cool in the, well, cold, then look no further than Scotland's newly crowned World Curling champions. As the commentator on Eurosport welcoming us to Latvia explained: "There's a lot of ice out there, the temperature has been well below zero, but curlers quite like it cold."

Just as well, it was Baltic outside.

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