Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

Broadcaster David Coleman dies

Sports broadcaster David Coleman has died at the age of 87, the BBC has confirmed.

The renowned athletics commentator worked for the corporation for almost 50 years, covering 11 summer Olympic Games, his final one in Sydney in 2000.

He also covered six football World Cups as a commentator or presenter.

In a statement, Mr Coleman's family said: " We regret to announce the death of David Coleman OBE, after a short illness he died peacefully with his family at his bedside."

Colleagues and friends have paid tribute to the commentator, a long-running host of the BBC's Question of Sport panel show.

Tony Hall, BBC director-general, said: "David Coleman was one of this country's greatest and most respected broadcasters.

"Generations grew up listening to his distinctive and knowledgeable commentary. Whether presenting, commentating or offering analysis, he set the standard for all today's sports broadcasters. Our thoughts are with his family and many friends."

Barbara Slater, BBC director of sport, added: " David Coleman was a giant in the sports broadcasting world, an iconic and hugely respected figure.

"In a BBC career that spanned over 40 years he set the standard that so many others have tried to emulate. His was one of broadcasting's most authoritative and identifiable voices that graced so many pinnacle sporting moments.

"From his famous football and athletic commentaries to his presentation of events and programmes such as the Olympics, the World Cup, Question of Sport and Grandstand, he was quite simply the master of his craft.

"David had many friends at BBC Sport and was admired by audiences in their millions. We send sincere condolences to his family."

Former England striker and Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker was among those remembering Mr Coleman - whose brevity at the microphone, including his signature "one-nil" catchphrase, earned him many fans.

The former Leicester, Everton, Tottenham and Barcelona forward wrote on Twitter: "Sad to hear, David Coleman has died. A giant of sports broadcasting. Brilliant, gifted, precise and concise. Much more than 'one-nil' #RIP"

Mr Coleman also found himself the subject of a regular column in satirical magazine Private Eye, with its Colemanballs feature documenting commentators' gaffes to this day.

Former Home Secretary David Blunkett described the commentator as "a thoroughly decent guy", having been quizzed by Mr Coleman 45 years ago on BBC1's Feedback show.

Mr Blunkett said: "He made me feel at home in my first ever TV interview 45 years ago when I found myself bizarrely confronting a very young David Dimbleby on the programme Feedback, which David Coleman was chairing.

"David Coleman had to deal with a man who couldn't see talking about a film which David Dimbleby had produced and which had caused enormous controversy by displaying dead and naked bodies. Why I ever wrote in I shall never know, but it was certainly a way of being blooded in terms of future interviews over the past 45 years.

"I know that as well as his family and friends, many of us will mourn him as someone who represented the best in broadcasting and of decency in public life."

Prime Minister David Cameron wrote on Twitter: "Sad to hear David Coleman has died - the voice of BBC Sport for as long as I can remember."

Former BBC colleague Barry Davies said Mr Coleman was "the master who set the standard for sports broadcasting on television".

Mr Davies said: " He had such authority in his voice which could bring even the most mundane event to life. And at the big events he was superb.

"I feel privileged to have known him, worked with him and occasionally stood in for him when he was in his prime."

Liberal Democrat MP and former athlete Sir Menzies Campbell, who held the UK record time for the 100 metres sprint from 1967 to 1974, described Mr Coleman as "the sporting voice of the BBC".

The politician, who competed in the Olympic Games in 1964 and captained the British athletic team in the Commonwealth Games two years later, said: "In particular, he and the late Ron Pickering formed a unique partnership, unrivalled in its understanding and knowledge of the sport and with a remarkable capacity to communicate it to the viewer.

"In the 1960s and 70s, no Olympic Games was complete without the commentaries of this remarkable broadcaster."


From Belfast Telegraph