With SPOTY, the BBC delivered a champagne moment to mark vintage year
07:58 GMT, 17 December 2012
As reported on this website a couple of days ago, yesterday provided a bumper Sabbath of sport on the telly to wedge yourself into the settee for.
Although, I do have to be honest. I did take a couple of hours off from the vigil to watch the gripping last two episodes of the The Killing. So a bit of a Fjord Super Sunday for me, too.
It all started before dawn had even considered the notion of cracking with Amir Khan’s impressive return to form in LA, followed by a swift switch of continent to the Test Match from Nagpur.
Sealed with a kiss: Bradley Wiggins won the Sports Personality of the Year Award
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Although, so old skool was the progress on the field of play, Bumble found himself turning on the poop bag-free dog walkers of Brentford, by way of conversation.
This was followed by several hours of football – from a Yokohama Samba, all the way to a point for Big Sam. This, though, was merely the warm-up for the night that was set to celebrate arguably the greatest year of sport this United Kingdom of ours has ever witnessed.
Frankly, we’ve never had it so good. Therefore, neither has BBC’s Sports Personality Of The Year Awards which quite sensibly set up shop back at the scene of the crime, in East London’s ExCel Centre.
If we weren’t quite aware of just how special this year’s event was, then the opening to the show surely left us in no doubt.
A spectacular helicopter ride with the three hosts Sue Barker, Clare Balding and Gary Lineker through a twinkling night time London was followed by Emily Sande serenading us in an ink blue sea awash with twinkling lights inside the arena.
Then there was Mark Cavendish escorted to the stage with the trophy he won last year, flanked by members of the armed forces and several Games makers.
As Sue Barker pointed out, this was the biggest show in Sports Personality’s 59th year. However, it was also two and half hours plus of telly. The question would therefore have to be asked: would it be big enough to fill that much air time
Well, personally, I thought this particular marathon was a real sprint – the time flying by as we flipped from stage, to film, to interview, with hero after hero never failing to remind us why running, jumping, kicking, hitting et al can be so damned special.
OK, true, arguably you can hear enough of people saying what ‘an incredible experience’ it was, but that ‘it wasn’t just me’. However, when time after time it’s people whose astounding performances during this last 12 months absolutely lit up the nation, we are surely honour-bound to pardon the repetition.
Honoured: Andy Murray received his third-place trophy from Lennox Lewis
Always unavoidably flat, though, are the live interviews from around the world.
Andy Murray at least got himself a nice poolside seat and the prospect we might see some running, petting or bombing in the background. But poor old Chris Hoy found himself in what appeared to be a dentist’s reception, with only half a Christmas tree for company.
On the night, though, in the room it was Bradley Wiggins who was going to take some beating.
Double act: Wiggins and Sue Barker entertained the crowd at London's Excel Arena
First up of the 12, his film was voiced
by his Quadrophenia Mod-In-Arms Phil Daniels, and his suit was as sharp
as it was nostalgic for those times. He was also hilarious, continually
calling Ms Barker ‘Susan’ and ripping Gary by referring to ‘the
incredible team’ he must have behind his make-up.
The film recalling the incredible final day of the Premier League was also enthralling, and was greeted by an impressive 16,000 capacity ‘Posnan’. While Martine Wright’s speech on accepting the Helen Rollason award was both incredibly touching and inspirationally uplifting.
Talks: The Duchess of Cambridge and Jessica Ennis
However, something special seemed to happen when the name 'Jessica Ennis' was said aloud and she glided to the stage in ‘that dress’ (I’m no expert, but I’m sure that dress is a definite ‘that dress’). The hall seemed to have itself a favourite, judging from the response.
The result, however, was still an hour away. Before that was announced, two local lads had their chance to shine on stage. First up, there was Hackney’s Idris Elba delivering a rousing rendition of Edgar Guest’s words to welcome the victorious Team GB/Paralympics GB (with mention in dispatches for the cheer the Ryder Cup team received). Then, to the sort of reception you might imagine Robbie Williams would walk out to, there was Leytonstone’s David Beckham in a brown sports jacket welcoming Lord Coe up to collect his Lifetime Achievement Award.
Although it was actually the Duchess Of Cambridge who gave Seb his trophy. But I don’t think she’s an East Ender.
In the end though, and to chants of ‘Wiggo, Wiggo’, it was the man who had opened proceedings with such natural aplomb, that won the day. Bradley Wiggins won the Tour, took gold and stole the show. ‘There’s free beer around the back, courtesy of the BBC’ he told the crowd.
Unlikely, but credit where it’s due, the Corporation certainly created a champagne moment to mark this vintage sporting year.