OUT WITH THE SUITS AS 5 FINDS RIGHT MIX
IT’S taken a couple of years but, whisper it quietly, Channel 5 may finally have stumbled on to the right way to show their EFL highlights. A couple of years ago, its Football League
Tonight took the baton from the BBC’s Manish Bhasin-led Football League Show.
There was positivity because the former were going to put on the highlights at 9pm, while the Beeb could only find a late-night slot after Match Of The Day.
However, Channel 5’s programme was panned by the critics. Hosted by George Riley and Kelly Cates, it tried to be innovative by having a live studio audience and a variable running order between divisions, depending on what happened during the day.
But it was heavily criticised for being confusing and, some said, amateurish.With viewing figures failing to get anywhere near the BBC’s, the show was quickly revamped.
Out went the studio audience and a more regular running order, ie: Championship, then League One and Two, returned.
Riley and Cates sat on a sofa with two pundits, or a pundit and a player or manager, and gathered their opinions of the day’s event.
That format continued last season, though Lynsey Hipgrave replaced Cates.The programme was worthy, if dull.
Now for season three, Channel 5 have rejigged it again.This time,Colin Murray has been brought in to host it on his own.
Instead of being a sofa special, it’s become a bit more magazine style. Murray is one of those presenters that people tend to either love or hate, but you can’t criticise him for a lack of enthusiasm.
The cameras showed him at Fulham v Norwich on opening day, plus he interviewed
Pointless star and Whites fan Richard Osman at the game. He then returned to the studio, where he teamed up with pundit Michael Gray. Greater use was made of the video screen to show highlights while Murray and Gray talked about the games. It worked well.
I’m not usually a fan of Gray – or his attire – but the fact there was just one pundit allowed him more time to make his points and show his knowledge.
Going with two pundits, as in the past, cuts down their talking time and you often end up with bland comments about ‘the manager deserves that victory because he’s a great guy and works really hard’.
Getting a couple of fans’ views also added to the show and, crucially, did not take up too much time. After all, everyone wants to see the action and goals.
Suits are clearly now out, jumpers are in and the show’s got a more informal, busier edge to it.
Football on 5:The Championship and Football on 5: Goal Rush, as they’re now known, look in good nick.
HOST: Football on 5’s Colin Murray