Daily Mail



IAN DENNIS was first. Then Alistair Bruce-Ball, then John Murray. A group of three who, in the face of plenty of pressure, took a stand. They knew what was coming. They knew they would be branded ‘scabs’ by the keyboard warriors.

They also knew they had a duty to licence-payers. So each took the mic, spoke eloquently and did their jobs — providing football coverage over the weekend to listeners of Radio 5 Live as everything else fell to pieces. Yesterday’s 5 Live Sport was due to be hosted by Steve Crossman, but he refused to work, and instead Sport’s Strangest Crimes was on the airwaves for two hours. Radio 5 Live described it as a ‘disrupted service’.

This was not a strike. There are some BBC employees who refused to work who could stroll into other jobs, who have made incredible sums already during their careers.

Then there is an army of staffers who — although they may agree with Lineker and think the BBC’s impartiali­ty rules need clarifying — simply wanted to honour contracts. Some have been in very dark places. Have Lineker and the BBC considered the impact this has had on them? Those who may have been frightened of the consequenc­es had they not done so. And the freelancer­s, people who are brought in to operate the phone lines for shows like 606 who will have missed out on much-needed pay on the back of this. Dennis, Bruce-Ball and Murray spoke for many of them.

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