Full time for Frank Bough, then. The former Grandstand anchor has passed away aged 87. For younger readers, Grandstand was a multi-sport TV programme aired on the BBC, mostly on a Saturday afternoon. It ran from 1958 to 2007 and for most of that time it was unassailable, the king of sports shows in Britain, usually with an edge on ITV’s rival World of Sport. I still miss it. Soccer Saturday doesn’t come close.
I defy anyone born between 1930-1980 to watch this and not feel an enormous surge of nostalgia:
It helped hugely that the show had long-running hosts who would become legends in their field: first David Coleman (after the shortest of stints from Peter Dimmock), than Bough, then Des Lynam (what a trio, it doesn’t get better than that), and finally the very underrated Steve Rider.
My main man was Lynam, but I’m old enough to recall Frank clearly (and of course he would remain on our screens well into the Eighties, until his career was derailed in 1988 by the most unlikely of sex-and-drug scandals).
Bough was a great broadcaster: avuncular, witty, authoritative. I don’t know how he did it, but, looking back now, he managed to sidestep any Alan Partridge-style affectations, even whilst sporting an array of sweaters that were clearly purchased from Clockhouse at C&A (although these appeared more in his later, breakfast telly stage).
He welcomed you in to the small screen. He was excellent company for an autumn afternoon. And he understood that football, cricket, horse racing et al were very important indeed… but not life-and-death important. RIP Frank.