Farewell, little dynamo of Sky Sports News, until we meet again…
If ever it was a good time to evoke a sporting cliche, this is it. I am getting my defence in early.
Almost against our collective wills some of us chaps, every now and then, have realised that the female presenter before our gaping eyes is not only saying important things about stuff, but also doing so whilst being, you know, sort of gorgeous with it.
I know that it”s shallow, that it”s pathetic, and some may even say demeaning, but I am talking here about people here who are respected as broadcasters just as much as they are for their appearances – something I”m sure we are all aware isn”t just some happy accident in telly.
Last day: Georgie Thompson (right) has left the Sky Sports News team
It is a chemistry TV constantly strives constantly to create – and, more often than not, with the fellas, too. After all, how else do you think I”ve ever got any work (no laughing at the back)
Across the decades, certain TV ladies really seem to have tapped that nerve. For us veterans, Saturday morning kids television in the seventies also became a must watch for bigger boys as the anarchic Tiswas gave us the effervescent Sally James. In the nineties, chaps were back in front of the box on Saturday morning as Helen Chamberlain put the “cor!” into Soccer AM.
Viewers” favourite: Thompson first appeared on our SSN screens back in 2001
Then in 2001, in what was really the rather matter-of-fact, austere surroundings of Sky Sports News, a young lady with doe eyes, cascading locks, a deep, throaty voice and ready laugh first appeared behind the iconic desk.
It was of course Georgie Thompson, and from the moment of her arrival, she was so much more than just an autocue pilot. The (ok, male) audience took to her immediately, and if proof of that were ever needed, one of them in particular, a certain Declan Donnelly, made the point of getting in touch, then being her boyfriend for 2 years, no less. And he”s got 47 Baftas! So what chance did the rest of us have
Surprise: Georgie relived some of her golden moments during her last show
In 2012, Georgie (who worked for Sky on A1 Grand Prix in her time) is joining their F1 Channel as part of a formidable presentation team. So on Thursday she presented her last ever Afternoon Report, and as she showed us at the start of her stint, “with a box of tissues” at hand, all ready for “an emotional rollercoaster”.
As her last few hours in the Sky Sports chair (set pretty high, we were to discover – the girl is a genuine little dynamo) and the customary conveyor belt of sports faces passed before us, Georgie admitted she was getting “over-excited”, as perfectly illustrated by a short rendition of “there”s a hole in my bucket”, with “bucket” becoming “racket” after an air shot from Novak Djokovic.
More from Mark Webster…
Edge of the Box: SPOTY was more focused and unfussy than last year
Edge of the Box: Football Focus at the Salford Lads Club lacked edge but deserves kudos
Edge of the Box: Sky”s epic Fight Night was marathon viewing… and worth 19 per cent of memory
Edge of the Box: UFC”s Grand Finale beats Big Brother into a bloody pulp
Edge of the Box: Whitbread and Carson battle to fly the flag for sport in the jungle
Edge of the Box: No danger of Tinsel Town playing down Beckham”s final fling with Los Angeles Galaxy
Defence solid and ready for the fight, Gazza was absolutely on top of his game
Edge of the Box: A new home, a new show No, just more of the same
VIEW FULL ARCHIVE
We also got a literal early sign of what was to come as a couple of lads were caught on camera at the World Darts brandishing a sign “I (heart) Georgie Thompson”.
Mind you, it wasn”t all fun and games for Georgie as we saw just why she has been such an asset in a news chair for Sky, handling deftly her notes on a “Just in” story at 5.30 that Carlo Ancelotti was still yet to finalise a move to Paris for his next job.
That left just over an hour for her in the current job and she allowed herself the chance to let her hair down (well, it was already “down”, but… oh you know what I mean) as she laughed her way through the “Catch Of Season” vote by suggesting she wouldn”t have made the Jacob Oram one “not because I”m too little, because I can”t play cricket”.
However the big question was, especially as one leading bookmaker was even laying on odds for them, would it be tears that were to be the order of the day
Well, there may well have been a spot ofearly welling up going on with around 40 minutes to go as “her first screen husband” Dave Clark offered a fond farewell back at Alexandra Palace, where the “Georgie” signs had multiplied. But then things started to get a little more intense as suddenly there was Harry Redknapp on the phone to wish her best of luck, and Georgie admitting she was “stumped” as to what to talk to him about.
Waterworks: Georgie fought back the tears, but will present F1 for Sky in 2012
Ever the pro, though, she got it together and ended up offering Harry “an open invitation” to be her first star guest for her F1 magazine show.
This left enough time before 7pm for us to see clips of Georgie in her first audition and show, being lifted like a quarter pounder by The Big Show, punking co-presenter David Jones with a lipsticked vuvuzela and finally – and this was definitely one for us lads – dancing along with a Cheeky Girls Christmas video before Jim White handed the “GT Girl” a farewell bouquet.
So see you again in 2012 then, Georgie. And the same to all of you. Wishing you a happy new year.