The acronym “SPOTY” just about sums up the parlous state of this once august occasion. I wrote about this on another forum, about how SPORTS PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR used to be a massive occasion on the sporting calendar: a black tie event at BBC Television Centre in Wood Green, with the big names arriving in black limousines and nervously entering the studios. The only audience were the sporting stars of the day. No one had media training in those days and the interviews were always a little awkward, but much the better for it. Frank Bough would be master of ceremonies and there would be a proper round up of the major sports by all the BBC’s legendary names: Peter Alliss on Golf, Harry Carpenter on Boxing, David Coleman on Athletics, Bill McLaren on rugby, Peter West on cricket, Dan Maskell on Tennis and Jimmy Hill on football. It was a serious occasion, with none of the presenters endlessly making weak jokes or trying to be overly matey with whoever they were interviewing.
It is beyond me why the BBC now feel the need to make this an arena event, with not an evening jacket in sight, with many struggling to wear a tie, let alone do their top button up; the bulk of the audience wearing jeans and trainers. The presenters all throwing any sporting credentials to the kerb to appear as holiday camp entertainers. No real insightful account of the year, instead each sport is presented as a slow-motion film with some luvvie actorrrr voicing poetry over the top. What was once a celebration and an event of the highest honour now feels like a rosette being given out in a dodgy nightclub to the evening’s best disco dancer.