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Martin Kelner, Journalist, Author and Radio Presenter.
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Screen Break

What's the point of second and third bananas in the commentary box?
By Martin "second banana" Kelner on Jun 26, 2016 - 9:30:11 PM

Screen Break is back.  You can find most of the columns here.  Here's the first couple of hundred words.  Currently the column is sponsored by the UK Concrete Show, but if you'd like to ensure its survival, and have the resources, feel free to get in touch for details of our competitively priced sponsorship deals....

What is the point of Robbie Savage?   I don't mean that as a personal attack on the former Leicester City/Birmingham/Blackburn Rovers/Derby County midfielder - there are plenty of people on Twitter to do that - and in any case my wife, who judges all sports people by their appearance on Strictly Come Dancing, thinks him rather sweet.


It just happens that Robbie was one of the three voices commentating for the BBC on Northern Ireland v Wales in the Euros on Saturday afternoon, together with commentator Guy Mowbray and former Northern Ireland international Gerry Armstrong; and Robbie's, er, distinctive delivery underlined for me the usually pointless presence of a third - and in some cases, a second - voice in the commentary box.

Let's deal with the overstaffing first.   If the pretence is that the co-commentator is there to use his experience as an ex-player to put incidents on the pitch into some sort of context, to interpret them in a way the mere professional broadcaster cannot, then why do you need two of them?  


If the first pundit, whatever his nationality, can't be trusted to provide impartial expert analysis, and a counterbalancing voice representing the rival nation is needed, how is he doing the job of an expert?   That's being a cheerleader, and I can do that myself at home.....

The remainder of the column can be read - together with most of the old ones - from 10am tomorrow at  And don't forget to ask about sponsorship opportunities.

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