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The frosty morning after the sensational night before

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Roger Mosey | 14:33 UK time, Monday, 15 December 2008

It's a bit longer journey back to London this year and I'm writing this on a train passing through the Midlands on a frosty, misty morning that says Christmas is just around the corner. If proof were needed, a Virgin Trains chaplain has just appeared along with an entire choir singing carols - except in coaches A and B where there's overcrowding...

But top of the agenda: thank you, Liverpool. The city did us proud last night in hosting Sports Personality of the Year. It was a wonderful arena with great facilities, and every impression I got was that the audience there - and the sports stars - had a ball. Liverpool's papers liked it too.

Chris Hoy wins Sports Personality of the Year 2008

So, it appears, did most viewers at home. On the provisional figures the show performed in line with last year's - averaging 6.7m viewers and therefore way ahead of the figures when we were last in a London studio. The audience built from 4.7m at 7pm to 8.4m by 8.45pm, when we were ahead of all other channels.

In the BBC we are, of course, as neutral and fair as possible ahead of the main vote. But almost all the people I've talked to so far have been thrilled by Chris Hoy's victory and they think he's a brilliant addition to the list of winners. He won by a mile, too, with 40 per cent of the vote. The winning margin was 120,000. It's a popular choice north of the border and it's making headlines in India, Canada, and right around the world.

No show is perfect, of course, and we welcome the feedback already on message boards and from our colleagues in the press - who've generally been kind:
The Daily Mail
The Guardian
The Telegraph

But I've no hesitation in saying from the BBC's point-of-view that we thought overall last night was a major success. It felt like the right winners were chosen by the public and by the experts; the venue was sensational: and audiences in the arena and at home seem well-pleased. The lifetime achievement award for Sir Bobby Charlton was a great TV moment shared by millions.

Planning for next year will start almost immediately. The question asked repeatedly last night was "where?" and at the moment we've no idea. I've personally always been attracted to the idea of moving outside England, and with a Welsh winner in 2007 and a Scottish winner this year that may be an idea whose time has come. But equally we've had incredible support from Liverpool and previously from Birmingham, and the competition for hosting duties from English cities will be fierce.

We'll let you know how our thinking develops, but in the meantime - thanks to everyone who watched and came along, and particular appreciation to our guests from British sport who've been so inspirational in 2008.


  • Comment number 1.

    Get cities to bid for the right to host it. Take it to Scotland or Wales and then maybe those nations will stop complaining about English bias, which is what 606 was dominated with last night. This despite the last two winners being non-English.

    Anyhow, as to last night's show: well, it was good. It wasn't a review of the year, and it was a touch disappointing that you couldn't actually show larger chunks of actual sports action. But then review wasn't in the title and you clearly couldn't persuade your colleagues in scheduling to give you 3hrs, which is frankly what was needed to do things comprehensively.

    I'll admit that the scheduling this year gave a chance for all the runners and riders to get a better moment in the spotlight, which was a vast improvement in last year. Jake H was a poor show though and he must up his act if he is to be star of F1 that Steve Rider and Jim Rosenthall have been on the other side.

    Roger - one question: can we have the voting numbers? Also who are your independent scruinteers - they tell the public at the Oscars who does it, so could you?

  • Comment number 2.

    Ok as an Awards show it works well. And you are right "The lifetime achievement award for Sir Bobby Charlton was a great TV moment shared by millions."

    I suppose I still tune in and expect a review of the Sporting year, and I suppose due to ratings considerations that can't be done these days. I still think it is a shame though that since the BBC holds the rights to Wimbledon and the Olympics for example we couldn't have been shown some of the highlights with commentary instead of all the music.

    Anyway next year I shall tune in and know what to expect now and will probably enjoy it that way more. Just a shame that there can't be a separate programme reviewing what was undoubtedly a great year in sport. Yes the personalities were highlighted last night but not the actual sport...

  • Comment number 3.

    I'm glad Hoy won in the end and it was an olympic year. If Lewis Hamilton had won, he would have of course deserved it but his time will come when he wins future championships of which I'm sure he will and it was nice that a sport and person won it in the only year thy really could have won it. Only in an olympics year, these athletes are favourites to win.

    I still feel it was a shame that Shane Williams wasn't nominated as he has had one of the best years a rugby player can ever have being given World Player of The Year. But he won the Welsh SPOTY so all good. Great year for sport overall and can't wait to this next year of sport!

  • Comment number 4.

    I've always wondererd What the chances of a pro-wrestler ever getting acknowleged during SPOTY? Nigel McGuinness has been a world champion for a year? it is SPORTS-Entertainment, and you can hardly say there no athletes in it. Maybe next year, proberly never, im just saying.

  • Comment number 5.

    A couple of quick initial points...

    First, a look at the detailed figures suggests 9.8m were watching the moment when Chris Hoy picked up the trophy. That's the highest peak for 5 years, according to our research team.

    Second in response to Jordan D, the figures are published elsewhere on this site - and they are:

    Chris Hoy 283,630 votes
    Lewis Hamilton 163,864
    Rebecca Adlington 145,924
    Ben Ainslie 35,472
    Joe Calzaghe 34,077
    Andy Murray 19,415
    Nicole Cooke 18,256
    Christine Ohuruogu 7,677
    Bradley Wiggins 5,633
    Rebecca Romero 4,526

  • Comment number 6.

    Glad Hoy won although wouldn't have argued had Adlington, Ainslie or the Calzaghe won.
    The Murray item was a load of pretentious nonsense. Nadal is a year older and has won 5 Grand Slams. Why is tennis always in with a shout - is it that good a sport? Anything to do with the outrageous money Beeb pays to cover Wimbledon?
    Football always seems to win something. Bobby Charlton is a legend though that is 3rd time in 4 years football has won this award. Are there no other lifetime achievers.
    I just wish we saw more of the sporting action - like replays, like the old days.
    Roger - one final question do you have any plans to retrospetively publish the Actual Votes Cast for period 2001 - 2006?

  • Comment number 7.

    Hi Roger

    Congratulations on putting on a great show last night - I was there and I really enjoyed it. I was in Birmingham last year and I've got to say that it was better this year than last.

    It seems that you and your team have taken on board all the comments made over the last couple of years about making the whole voting process fairer to all the nominees. It did seem to be much better balanced last night - good work!

    It was good to see ecognition at last for our brilliant cycling team (It makes up for the travesty of last year!) I feel a little sorry for Mark Cavendish though - as there was only a small mention of his achievement in The tour de france. He seems to have been forgotten as he did not achieve at the Olympics.

    Finally may I suggest that with all the cycling fever that the cycling team has generated, now would be the time to think about securing the rights to the tour de france and bringing it to the BBC.

    It is fantastic to watch and makes great TV - and as the voting figures for Chris Hoy show, there are many many people that are that are interested in cycling and are missing out on watching the greatest cycle race, because it is only on ITV4.

  • Comment number 8.

    A great show overall, great and deserving winners but perhaps you could leave out the Ski Slope for next year. Only the cyclists managed to go down it with any dignity. I noticed you didn't make Bobby Charton walk down it!

  • Comment number 9.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 10.

    I'd just like to echo the previous sentiments in response to your blog Roger with regards to the disappointment of not showing enough sports action and only concentrating on the personalities.

    Why is it that every piece of sporting action has to be shown as a montage or abstract piece of film instead of showing the bog standard sports action with commentary. Part of the reason we love cerain sporting moments so much is because of the commentary which makes it so special.
    It is for this reason that both my dad and I are not bothered to tune into the show anymore when in years gone by, it used to be an unmissable fixture in the TV listings.

    As robvilla said, 'I just wish we saw more of the sporting action - like replays, like the old days.



  • Comment number 11.

    I'd love to see a public show from London, possily thehuge o2 arena?

  • Comment number 12.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 13.

    Really enjoyed the show last night. It took me a few years to get used to the different format to in the past but now I prefer it.

    I agreed with nearly all of the awards winners, the cyclists for team, Chris Hoy who I voted for, Dave Brailsford and Ellie Simmonds.

    But that best moment for me was the Helen Rollason award going to Alastair Hignell, he is so deserving of the award and much missed from the commentary box. Great choice.

  • Comment number 14.

    Roger, please dont take the show out of England.
    Moving it to Liverpool was a risk and it paid off but dont move it to Wales or Scotland, im not suggesting that it would be bad but moving it just because Calzaghe and Hoy have won it does not justify why the nations should have it.
    Ive said it should stay in Birmingham, middle of the country, excellent transport links for the BBC as well and a major area steeped in Sport Tradition.
    But for next year...DONT choose Manchester..its in the North West and would be deemed unfair, North East prehaps with Newcastle, Sunderland and Middlesbrough and even Hull to choose from!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 15.


    I have been a life-long fan of SPOTY and it is the one TV show that is inked into my diary, so living 'in the north', yesterday was a great opportunity to see it live.

    And for the most part, I wasn't disappointed; the atmosphere, emotion and general enjoyment of the event was fantastic. However, I would suggest that some more thought is given to the ease with which the audience can see what is happening - we were near the back and only at the last minute was a TV screen wheeled onto the floor in our line of sight, enabling us to see 'the action'.

    Additionally, I feel the Echo Arena could have performed better before the show. Our tickets only arrived on friday - prompting a number of panicky calls to check that they were being sent and the 'joining instructions' made no mention of any parking restrictions.

    That said, it was a very enjoyable evening and a great event; Chris Hoy is a very deserving winner and I hope that it is held close enough next year to enable me to take my family again.

    Best regards, Steve

  • Comment number 16.

    I enjoyed the show but a few comments:

    1. More highlights of all the great sporting achievements (with commentary)

    2. Is the award about the greatest achievement or a being a sports personality?

    Just a picky point but it seems that to qualify you must have been really successful rather than have been a personality and made for an enjoyable sporting year (Ian Poulter or Monty Panesar for example).

    3. The blond male presenter, so uninspiring that I forgot his name, wasn't really up to scratch.

    4. Thought Cavendish was hard done by - one of the greatest achievements ever by a British Road Cyclist barely acknowleged.

    I was rooting for Addlington but am very pleased Hoy won!


  • Comment number 17.

    I thought it was a jolly good show! The best man won!

  • Comment number 18.

    I don't want to be over critical, or petty, or negative for the sake of it, but Sports personality of the year is getting worse as a show.

    This year, as last, was far too bitty. There was too much chopping and changing, too much over-hyped, melodramatic rubbish. Why interview Ben Ainslie about why he ran off when he'd fallen in the channel in November? Why have more footage of Andy Murray hitting tennis balls into the sea than footage of him on court, beating Nadal, Federer et al.?

    I know there are rights issues, and I know that now it's an Arena event you have to entertain the crowd, but now that is the focus the actual review of the sport for the viewers is being pushed out. I don't want to see cyclists comnig down a ramp! How about a repeat of some of the races from the olympics! Why were all the reviews warped with that silly lense effect?

    I felt let down by the programme. Really let down. I look forward to this for months before hand but the only thing that the BBC got right was the winner, and that was the only thing you had no say over.

  • Comment number 19.

    It was a fantastic year for British sport, so at least we were spared the embarrassment of recent years of barely being able to scrape a credible shortlist together.

    Chris Hoy was a most deserving winning, although I wonder whether the bbc did engage in some gamesmanship by keeping the coverage of Lewis Hamilton's achievements to an absolute minimum?

    Overall the categories all had worthy winners which is to be applauded.

    I look forward to next year's show, hopefully without the ill-conceived ramp (poor Rebecca Adlington having to totter down it)!

  • Comment number 20.

    Well to balance Webby Foxes I think it's important the show is moved around the UK-obviously the venue has to be large enough, and such venues exist in Wales and Scotland-as does modern transport.

    I would also like to say that I for one am pleased we know longer have the dreary grind around all the sporting action of the last year that the Review used to involve.

    Every year since phone voting was introduced I've voted for the winner-yet I really didn't think Hoy would win. Very pleased he did. Oh and as to personality or achievement-that's down to each individual who votes, isn't it?

  • Comment number 21.

    One thing that always strikes me is the seeming preference for people who are showcased on the BBC.

    Of the 10 only 2 were not BBC 'talent', Lewis Hamilton (of course F1 is back with the BBC next year) and Joe Calzaghe (whose fights have been shown on BBC 2 on a week delay).

    I wonder if Mark Cavendish might of stood a chance had the BBC covered the Tour de France?

    Baring an exceptional event (the Ashes or Rugby World Cup) this event always seems biased in favour of those events the BBC have the rights to.

    Plus I would echo comments of those re the 'review' part of the show that has become almost non-existent in recent years. A few arty effects and lots of talking heads but very little actual action that you can actually see properly, ironically it was the Champions League final (not a BBC event) that was probably the best review bit.

  • Comment number 22.

    I'd just like to say that I thought it was a great show and great that an Olympian won. I think that the underlying success of the show was that Chris Hoy, a cyclist, won. I think it shows the power that exposure on the BBC has, when a cyclist wins 'the big one' as Chris Hoy so rightly put it. Similar to when Sir Steve Redgrave won, it shows that exposure on the BBC means that dedicated athletes in any sport have their chance to appear in the spotlight.

    I couldn't help but think how well the show has evolved, given that I grew up on the Sports Review of the year every year waiting for Des Lynam's segment, where all the humour of the show was centred. I used to think that those were the best days of the show, but from the comfort of my sofa on Sunday it was a really good show, well produced, well presented and a fitting climax to what has been a great year of sport.


  • Comment number 23.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 24.

    I have got to say that spoty was the best that i have ever seen and i really enjoyed it. I had idea that if you moved the show to glasgow because chris hoy is the winner and then whoever wins next year moved there because then people will enjoyed it more better and everytime i have watched it has been the busy that i have ever seen.

    I hope that you understand my post.


  • Comment number 25.

    Horseracing got just 51 seconds of coverage.

    Yet I bet if I had counted, the programme contained about 10 minutes of boring applause and predictable interviews.

    Get your priorities right, Rugby League and lots of other sports got seconds as well. Is it a review like it used to be or just a celebrity glamour show? If it is the latter then the BBC should provide a separate Sports Review show.

    As far as you are concerned Roger, I think you have a lot of questions to answer about your cuts to racing which are plainly disgraceful. You can't cherry pick the Grand National and Derby and let the rest of racing be left out of the BBC audience. People pay and expect a service. Racing costs less than £10m so don't say that cost is a factor. You paid about £200million for F1.

  • Comment number 26.

    Is there anywhere specific on the BBC site to ask about music used in programs? If not... what was the classical music used on the Lewis Hamilton Formula One review section? Seems to me always used in sporting montages and sends shivers down my spine!

  • Comment number 27.

    I agree with redtimbo, you cant just take the National and The Derby if you wont show what Channel 4 does.
    You seem to be pleased to have the 'posh tosh' Royal Ascot yet the Cheltenham Festival is a big event and yet Channel 4 cover it and do a better job then the BBC does.
    If you wont cover Races from other Tracks, like Channel 4 do, you are better off offloading all your Horse Racing events to Channel 4 and allow the professionals to do it. (Channel 4 have a few laughs as well unlike the BBC)

  • Comment number 28.

    gavt1976 - Chris Hoy is an Edinburgh boy ... sending him to Glasgow is akin to sending a Manchester person to Liverpool!

    trickieboy - you can ask about music at

  • Comment number 29.

    When will you all get it into your heads that viewing figures are no indication of whether someone liked a show or not?

    First of all, even those who hated it still viewed, so they still count towards that figure.

    Secondly a show like this is often watched as a form of habit, to look back over the last 12 months, you could have had Mr Blobby hosting it, held it in a clapped out old garage and spent abouit 50p on production of the actual event and people would still have watched.

  • Comment number 30.

    Hackerjack in #29: no, I don't agree. There's more choice of channels than ever before, and if people don't want to watch something - they don't.

    As a check on this, we also ask a representative panel what they think of the programme in the form of marks out of 10. This suggests increasing approval levels for Sports Personality - so we have growing audience numbers compared with three years ago, and people like it more. So thanks to people like David Shield II in #13 and gavt1976 in #24 for articulating that.

    To hdsport in #21: not true. As I've explained in previous blogs, the nominations are made by the sports editors of national newspapers and magazines - so the BBC has no influence on who's in the top 10. But we're proud that so many of the best moments were on the BBC.

    Bennettsj in #15: interesting comments. I'd welcome more from people who were at the show about how they found the experience.

    Thanks for all the contributions.

  • Comment number 31.

    Hackerjack in #29: no, I don't agree. There's more choice of channels than ever before, and if people don't want to watch something - they don't.
    You are not listening. Stop twisitng my words, I didnt say that people didnt want to wtch, I said that viewing figures are no indication of QUALITY.


    As a check on this, we also ask a representative panel what they think of the programme in the form of marks out of 10. This suggests increasing approval levels for Sports Personality - so we have growing audience numbers compared with three years ago
    Had you pointed that out then yes I would agree that this indicates a rise in quality. Like I said, viewing figures lone are no guide, wherase feedback like this most certainly is.

  • Comment number 32.

    Dear Roger,

    You have studiously avoided the comments made regarding horse racing. When are you going to formally admit that the BBC has decided to massacre its racing portfolio?


  • Comment number 33.


    In response to your comment about approval ratings can I ask what people make up the representative panel?

    This may just be the opinion of the people that i work with but those of us that regularly play or watch sport are becoming more disenchanted with the show and those that aren't regular viewers or participants are enjoying it more. One of the girls I work with said she only watched it because her boyfriend had it on but "wasn't it great when they had that bit with the guy playing the saxaphone".

    The "sporty" ones amongst us thought what was the point of that as all it was was another arty montage set to music that took up 5 unnecesary minutes.

    Now I've come to the point where I understand that BBC Sport has to appeal to the main stream to justify a primetime slot on sunday night for a show but for those of us sports fans who want a genuine review of the sporting year can we please have one maybe on BBC2 on a Sunday afternoon over the festive period or something like that.

  • Comment number 34.

    Roger - any chance you can cover off the point I made in the first post: who are your independent verifiers? If AMPAS who run the Oscars can let the world know who does the job (your colleagues in News even did a piece on the two gentlemen who verify the results) then surely in the efforts of transparency you should do the same.

    On an awards related tangent, can I congratulate the BBC on the two Bronze Golden Ring Awards that your team won for its Olympic coverage - both well deserved, especially for overall presentation.

  • Comment number 35.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 36.

    I'm not happy about the BBC's rumoured cuts in racing coverage-but be fair Roger has obviously read the comments and he has said specifically that he cannot comment on current negotiations. Hopefully Roger and his colleagues will have taken all the comments on board-you can't expect any more.

  • Comment number 37.

    Thanks, jcb336 in #36 - that's exactly the point. I'll blog about racing, and some other current contract negotiations, when everything's resolved. But these things do take time...

    JordanD in #34: I really appreciate the kind words about the bronze rings.

    On your question about the verifiers: it's not something we normally publicise, but I promise they do exist - and I'll see whether we can explain the process even more next year.

    Richp25 in #31: the panel is made up of viewers of all ages from all over the country, and it obviously doesn't mean that everyone's satisfied. So the idea you mention is something we'll certainly look at.

  • Comment number 38.

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  • Comment number 39.

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  • Comment number 40.

    It must be my age, and I know programmes develop, but I don't watch SPOTY any more, though I am interested to know who has won. It used to be so much better. As others have said, very little sporting action, far too much music which is a distraction. Instead of being a revue of the year's sporting achievements, it is just a BBC party for the wonderful array of Sporting Talents. I get the impression that it is a great opportunity for the presenters and the BBC to show how'good and clever' they have been during the year. Great that Hoy won. Though I do have huge respect for Hamilton, others did deserve it more. And Andy Murray did do a fantastic job for British tennis last year.

  • Comment number 41.

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