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Inside track on Football Focus

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Steve Boulton | 13:16 UK time, Thursday, 14 December 2006

I’m the Series Editor of Football Focus and I'm the latest author to join the cast list writing regularly on this blog.

As you know, Focus goes out on BBC1 on a Saturday .. so what do I do for the rest of the week you ask? Well, typically on a Tuesday morning I chair the Focus meeting. John Motson, Jonathan Pearce, Steve Wilson, Garth Crooks and Mark Bright gather with the rest of the production team to chat through what we should put in the weekend’s show.

I then have to choose which stories to commission off the back of this often excitable, always entertaining session. Ideally, at least one of our interviews will become the lead story on the BBC Football website come Friday.

By Friday afternoon, Mark Lawrenson will pitch up to tell me that I’ve picked all the wrong things.

In an attempt to cheer me up he’ll then tell a series of terrible jokes. The sort you’d vaguely remember hearing 10 years ago and not laughing at then either.

It’s always a late night on a Friday as our talented producers and reporters finish off the programme’s features.

Saturday 8am is the signal for myself, the programme director, production co-ordinator and presenter Manish Bhasin to have our ritual morning buttie. We then rehearse the show as much as we can. At nine and a half minutes past twelve, Mark Lawrenson is nowhere to be seen. Miraculously he always seems to appear on transmission. And he doesn’t tend to perform too badly - although the jokes rarely improve.

As far as my background goes, I was born in Leeds, grew up in Hampshire and became BBC Look East’s sports reporter in Norwich at the time of Alan Partridge. I was also East Anglia’s Pudsey Bear for four years. I’ve produced and directed documentaries for BBC1 as well as working in comedy and entertainment. I’m lucky enough to have produced the likes of Ricky Gervais & Steve Merchant, Jon Culshaw and Matt Lucas & David Walliams. I was privileged to be put in charge of running the BBC’s Munich production centre during the World Cup. An experience I’ll never forget.

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 01:43 PM on 14 Dec 2006,
  • Freddie Jackson wrote:

Football Focus has never been the same since you stopped showing the Quentin & Dave (the puppets who made funny remarks about the weeks football)

Bring back Quentin & Dave! We miss you.

welcome to the best blog in bbc-land.

Welcome to the Blog and Happy Christmas for BBC Sports

  • 4.
  • At 04:49 PM on 14 Dec 2006,
  • Tom Heap wrote:

Well done on making football focus the excellent programme that it is. I've only got one suggestion for how it could be improved; you don't seem to give enough recognition to Phil 'the Guv'nor' Neville, a true Colussus of the Premiership. Surely you could spend 5 mins examing his impact over the past decade? You should show the highlights of when he out-bossed patrick viera in midfield in a Man Utd Arsenal match a few years back. This would demonstrate why he's earnt the moniker 'the guv'nor' (unlike that flash in the pan Paul Ince.)

Keep up the good work,

Tom Heap

  • 5.
  • At 05:28 PM on 14 Dec 2006,
  • James wrote:

Will Manish be returning to Focus after the Ashes? I think Jake is ok but prefer Manish.

  • 6.
  • At 09:36 AM on 15 Dec 2006,
  • Andy wrote:

Bring back Ray Stubbs !!

When the BBC had no Premiership football to show (itv had on the ball) it was Ray Stubbs that kept Focus going, him and Lawro were a great double act and made the programme worth watching, i think Ray is a very underrated tv host and he was the perfect host for Focus, justy edging out the legend that is Bob Wilson !!

Manish is ok but for me Ray is the main man.

Bring back Ray Stubbs !!!

re:Live: Premiership
Everton 0-0 Chelsea (1345 GMT)
By Nathan Mercer
Just wish to say i am now enjoying NATHAN MERCER's live text online.. so much better (ie. descripive) than the staid stuff pumped out on Saturday afternon's online at BBC Football Live.

More of Nathan's style please!

Greetings from Comedy-land Mr Boulton.

  • 9.
  • At 03:19 PM on 08 Jan 2007,
  • Paul L wrote:

Hello Steve,
Any chance the style could change and be less fromal, its very similar to MOTD. Couldn't footie focus be more informal like Gazzetta Italia or Soccer Am.
I find it's like a MOTD B-team and bit dull.

Why not broadcast from a stadium each week or Wembley, and focus on that team, must be a nice unused studio mid day on match day some where much more interesting than having the guys perched on that awful sofa thingy.

Come on football is for football supporters make it less 'wet' and add some humour, maybe get Alan Davies to front it together with a fleet street hack like Samuel and an ex player or 2, oh and me i could do with a new job.

  • 10.
  • At 01:32 PM on 24 Feb 2007,
  • john whittaker wrote:

Hi Steve, i would like to ask a question. It is with reference to your commentators who consistantly refer to Arsenal's Tomas Rosicky as "Tomas Rositsky". Can you confirm that this is the correct prenunciation of his name. Or is it that they have not checked the correct spelling of his name. I thought it was just a one off, but it seems every commentor refers to him by this name.

Thanks John

P.S. if it annoys me I dread to think what it does for Tomas

  • 11.
  • At 04:53 PM on 25 Feb 2007,
  • Tommy Gunn wrote:

I think that the show should be shown/repeated at a later time, maybe 10.30 PM on a Friday? A lot of people who are going to matches will have left by the time the Saturday version is shown.

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