Belfast Telegraph

Colin Murray returns to BBC Radio 5 live to present Fighting Talk

Belfast broadcaster Colin Murray is returning to BBC Radio 5 live.

Murray quit last talkSport in July after he said it was "unsustainable" for him to continue to front his popular sports show after a buyout of the station by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, which also owns The Sun.

As a committed Liverpool fan, Murray was one of many to boycott The Sun over its reporting of the Hillsborough disaster, where Liverpool supporters were accused of stealing from those who died and obstructing police from helping casualties.

Murray will once again present Fighting Talk from Saturday September 17.

He first presented the show between 2006 and 2013, playing judge and jury as panellists tried to earn points for punditry.

Colin will again take on hosting duties as a panel of comedians, sports stars and broadcasters offer their irreverent and, ideally, funny take on the latest sporting news and events and play games such as Defend The Indefensible and Any Other Business.

Fighting Talk is one of BBC Radio 5 live’s most popular and longest-running programmes.

Jonathan Wall, controller of BBC Radio 5 live, says: "Colin is pretending he is not excited, but trust me, he’s thrilled to be back on Fighting Talk and I’m delighted he’s back too."

Explaining his decision to leave talkSport, Murray posted a statement online in July.

"While there are parts of News Corp that aren't a problem, it is the inevitable future working relationship between talkSport and The Sun that has made my position unsustainable", he said.

"Commercially, I delivered all-time record ratings, and, creatively, I was left along to mould a show of which I was intensely proud."

His message was signed off with the Twitter hashtag #JFT96, referring to the fans killed in the 1989 tragedy.

Demonstrating his popularity with the talkSport audience, the message has since been retweeted 21,000 times and 'liked' 42,000 times.

At the time he was praised by Match of the Day host and former England striker Gary Lineker.

"A man with principles. Well played, Sir," he said.

Lou Brookes, whose brother Andrew had died in the 1989 disaster said: "Another one who has seen sense where that rag is concerned! #JFT96 #Hillsborough."

A spokesman for talkSport said: "It is with much regret that, after three years of working with us, Colin Murray has taken the decision to move on from his presenting role at talkSport this September.

"Colin has been a fantastic asset to the station and, while we respect his decision, we will be very sorry to lose him. We wish him all the best for the future."

This is now the second time Murray has left a radio job in controversy. In 2013, he left the sports programme Fighting Talk on BBC Radio 5 live after making controversial comments about a BBC presenter live on the air.

He said that if given "20 minutes with her, I'm pretty sure I could turn around Clare Balding". He defended his actions saying that his only intention was to mock "idiot views" on homosexuality, but later admitted his comments were "over the line (and) just too much".

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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