Often Partisan

My view on the ITV Highlights

I’ve never been a fan of ITV, but the coverage of the FA Cup highlights from the weekend shown on ITV1 (starting at 10:30pm Saturday night) took the biscuit. The following letter has been sent in full to ITV in complaint.

Dear Sir

I write with reference to the FA Cup highlights show broadcast on ITV1, starting 10:30pm on Saturday 28 January.

As a supporter of a team in the second tier, from an unfashionable part of the world I’m used to my team being overlooked when it comes to TV highlights. I can understand that whilst I have an undying love for Birmingham City not everybody feels that way, and that ITV has to structure it’s highlights programmes so that the majority of people watching them are satisfied.

However, your highlight show on Saturday night was galling to say the least. The first half hour of the show was devoted to highlights of games that had already been broadcast on television. No matter that some of us devoted football fans had already sat through them once, let’s show them again. One would almost think that ITV was too tight to send TV cameras out to other grounds to cover them properly (even in highlighted form) and were reduced to filling the programme with pre-broadcast footage, a bit of chat with two washed-up ex managers (both of whom, incidentally, were no fans of the media when they managed) and adverts. So many adverts.

Having sat through eighty two minutes of programme, you finally get to my club. Now, I’d expect if we’d played ninety boring minutes of football, there wouldn’t be much to show. However, we’d taken part in the highest scoring tie of the round – four goals – and apparently there’d been some verve and good football on show. Unfortunately, we got 52 seconds of actual footage. Four goals (shown once), one chance for Sheffield United and a bit of Wade Elliott celebrating. For chrissakes, you devoted more time to interviewing Paolo di Canio in the hope he’d come out with something humorous.

As you can imagine, I’m pretty annoyed. I’m not the only one. Take a look at twitter, and see how your coverage is discussed. There’s even a hashtag, which is the snappy #itvisfuckingshit. If you dare to look at it, you’ll see it’s not just fans of my team either; fans of many teams are peeved at the complete pile of excrement you broadcasted on Saturday.

This letter is being printed in full on my website, www.oftenpartisan.co.uk. I’m a fair and reasonable guy, so if you send me a reply I will (if you wish) publish it in full as a rebuttal. If you want to take the time out to explain why the programme was edited in the way it was, and what the thinking was behind it I’m willing to let other people know. However, I will admit my cynicism is such that I dare say I will get nothing more than an automated response.

Anyway, Birmingham City should thank you. Their website does multi-angle coverage of all their games, and these shenanigans have convinced me that I should part with my cash and subscribe to their feed. I’m certainly not going to waste my time watching another ITV Sport highlights show.

if you too would like to send a letter of complaint to ITV, their email address is viewerservices@itv.com. More details here

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  • ritchie

    Alternatively, you can write to us at:
    Viewer Services
    ITV Plc
    Gas Street
    Birmingham
    B1 2JT

    Based in Birmingham?????? and only get 52 seconds?

  • John King

    I agree, and great letter by the way……I suspect that their response will be that we were featured live in the previous round Vs Wolves. In a kind of warped twist of fate things like the lack of coverage may not do us such a bad turn. It suits us in a couple of ways, we are chugging along nicely under the radar and before anyone notices we could well snatch the second automatic spot. Also players like Burke, Mutch, Davies, Murphy are slipping under the radar which might allow us to get past the transfer window without shitty teams like Wigan, Blackburn, Wolves or Bolton nicking our best players……..Also keeps CH out of the major limelight would hate a club with investment like Reading or Leicester to sniff round him…KRO

  • skareggae72

    Didnt they close the Gas Street/Broad Street studios down?.

    To be fair to them they did put us on itv1 this season & the euro stuff on itv4 but the standard of the FA cup highlights package editing/commentary/general layout is simply ATROCIOUS MEDIOCRE ABYSMAL & INEPT IN EVERY WAY SHAPE AND FORM.

  • pedantic pete

    I’m not on twitter and hadn’t got round to complaining myself, but your complaint is absolutely spot on. It’s as though there’s a secret society among broadcasters (also including the BBC) intent on dismissing the Blues as a club and a presence in football. I wonder if any of them are wearing claret and blue?

  • Scoobay1875

    Unfortunately this seems to be a recurring issue with ITV and the BBC. The coverage of the 6-0 win against Millwall, 3-0 win against Watford and today’s 4-0 win over Sheffield United probably adds up to less that 3 minutes; less than the boring coverage of the Newcastle game with only 1 own goal to boast. I’m glad we’re in such a rich vein of form, but it’s about time we were given the credit and acknowledgement we deserve for it.

  • Bluenose63

    I am not trying to defend ITV, but the first set of matches they showed were all ones covered by live UK transmissions, or satellite matches on ESPN and the two 3pm matches that were broadcast live to Europe (Derby and the Leicester match and The QPR 12pm kick-off). ITV would have had multiple cameras to cover these matches and maybe just 1 camera for the rest of the matches.

    It is the same for the Football League show on BBC they will show extended highlights of the Sky match or the one 3pm kick off that is covered by the Foreign Satellite channels, as these have multiple cameras at them. The other 1 camera matches will get the usual 60 second coverage.

    Even if our match against Southampton is a bore draw on Saturday, it will still get 1 of the longest highlight packages on BBC Football League Show because Sky are covering the match.

    p.s The next round will feature 8 matches 3 can be covered by ESPN, 2 By ITV and a possible 2 live 3pm kick offs on foreign satellites. Meaning there may only be 1 match not being extensively covered. So hopefully the next round highlight package will be different

    • prewarblue

      If what you say is correct,its fairly certain which game will NOT be covered extensively,,,,,,,the bias shown by all television channels against Blues is well known,,,,,,,even “local” tadio stations broadcast commentary on games that are not in Birmingham in preference to a Blues game.

      BRMB does cover Blues games to be fair,,,,,but to be shunted off to “Gold” to allow coverage of non City of Birmingham games is definite bias
      BBC WM is a joke

  • Masaccio

    try using the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/#!/ITVFootball

  • Carl

    Bluenose63 – you are pointing out the obvious flaw in their highlights package, all the games you mention are pre-defined to be the show – whilst a game that may be game of the day will be at the end with it’s paltry 10 seconds! A problem the badly named ‘MOTD’ suffers from.

    I used to work at Sky many moons ago, I know how these things roughly work. Some B-list commentators are usually given a little selection of games to do their voice overs for, off they go to the editing suite to pay lip-service to us supporters of unfashionable teams.

    The point is, they enough high quality footage of the Blues game to have done something more, despite less cameras. If they could have been bothered they could have put some commentary on (most of it is done afterwards even for main highlights games, I know I’ve seen it done, how do you think commentary is so tidy when edited!)

  • Aussiebrum

    I rarely take issue with you or your views – but have to do so in the strongest possible manner here.

    How can you possible say you come from an “unfashionable” part when I had always thought you came from BIRMINGHAM!

  • Oby

    Almijar, is it possible i can post your letter on to the Facebook page of ITV, it will get recognised by at least 19,500 people who ‘like’ their page, and you may get some interesting responses ?

  • Dirty Bertie

    Yeah Almajir!

    What you doing watching telly after such a game?

    You should have been in the pub – under a table – paralytic!!
    (now then, where did I leave my testicles?)

  • prewarblue

    The bias against the City of Birmingham does not only cover football programming,,,,,,,nature programs are also suffering with this bias,,,,,the main current affairs/farming progams made in Birmingham are being forced to move away from the city,,,,,,the late night radio program “Radio 2″ was forced to move to Manchester,,,,,,,the “Pebble Mill” studio,s were closed down then destroyed although some of the best drama series were made there,,,,,the “Post Box studios are being run down prior to closure,,,,ITV are doing the same,,,moving everything to Nottingham [ suppose East Midlands airport is easier to get the Yank series in there through customs ] .

    Lets just face it,,,if you live or were born in Birmingham your not wanted,even a Brummie twang is your voice is cause for bias against you,,,Nortern or Southern your ok ,,,Birmingham your a 2nd class citizen who dont count

    • Oby

      Agree 100%, it’s been going on for a while now, we are really not liked by the pompous upperty Dicks that control the UK media, which is why we always get a shit sandwich !!

  • http://www.joysandsorrows.co.uk Bazzathebluenose

    100% spot on Aljamir mate. Excellent letter. Was going to bring this up in detail in my report on joysandsorrows but I’ll merely link to you instead. I was cussing and swearing at the coverage on ITV last night and thought the coverage of our game which was so much better and exciting than QPR-Chelsea for instance was disgusting. never mind all the time the media aren’t talking about us the more we can quietly go about our business climbing the league and progressing in the Cup. Keep Right On play mates!

  • RichP

    Haha, that letter was pure genius

  • Loz Booth

    What really pees me off with ITV is that the FA Cup is supposedly a level playing field for ALL clubs to take part in. That is the magic of the FA Cup so why give so much air time to the premiership clubs during a FA Cup highlights program, don’t they get enough media attention anyway???….

  • Bluehobba

    Great letter spot on. I think you will get a reply but somehow it will be along the lines of Blah Blah Blah. I wish ITV was pay TV cos I wouldn’t bother subscribing to it. Unless the capital or Manchester is involved the media isn’t really interested and those in the capital or Manchester think everybody is interested in their teams. I for One could not care who wins the prem or the carling cup this year as we are not in them. Keep up the good work and KRO

  • boilerman

    Great letter, well written.

    Who cares about ITV, never watch that rubbish anyhoo

    Bring back Jimmy Greaves I say.

  • Bumpyfunk

    Agree agree agree.

    If they do respond with a ‘you had full focus against Wolves last week’, then the hypocrisy will be confirmed. By way of saying that, they will be admitting that a second tier team (good enough to beat a premier side) who also won the league cup last year, isn’t worth watching.

    Mention of ‘pre scheduling’ has been blamed above by a couple of people. I don’t care if this is the case. WE SHOULD HAVE BEEN SCHEDULED IN THE FIRST PLACE. Again, my first point proves that they don’t think we are worth watching. Whether we did have a full game last week or not.

    One question; (I genuinely don’t know the answer) is Gary ‘AVFC’ Newbon still in charge of itv sport?

    • Bumpyfunk

      Just checked….and it just says ‘tv executive’…and that’s for Sky anyway.

      It also says Newbon is a Leicester fan. That may be true, but I distinctly remember him having a soft spot for the Vile.

  • chris

    can only agree with most comments and Loz as they always go on about the magic of the cup then show prem teams playing each other. THAT ISN’T THE MAGIC OF THE CUP YOU MORONS.
    even if we aren’t on, i want to see lower league clubs taking on clubs in leagues higher and our game was one of those types, but when they do this it always involves a prem club, why for goodness sake.
    league one or conference v league two or league one v champs is good enough for me as we know in the latter stages of the competition it is usually all prem teams anyway.
    it should be about giving the lower leagues some exposure yet itv this weekend have shown in thei live games 3 prem clubs out of 4 teams.

  • DoctorD

    I fell asleep in front of the ITV show it was so boring but luckily stirred from my slumber just in time to catch the entire 52 seconds or whatever it was. I’d been looking forward all evening to the coverage but it was so thin that I was well pissed off — it was gone midnight by this stage. And those excrutiating ads…plus Gordon Strachan and the other guy was so dull I can’t even remember who it was. (Who was it by the way?) Still it’s Chelsea next so suddenly there’ll be more interest in our next match. Also Viller have just gone out ha ha.

  • Pete

    Agree, but extend your comments to all ITV coverage of the FA Cup.
    A good friend of mine plays for Stourbridge who played Plymouth in round 1. The game finished 3 – 3 with two sendings off.
    I struggled to find any footage, there was no show at all on the Saturday night!
    Then when I did find some, it was over as quick as a flash.

    The lower leagues rely on the FA Cup for a lot of its excitement and income, it’s their one chance to earn some real money. BBC used to make a song and dance about the FA Cup from round one, ITV would rather show Schofield and D listers larking about on ice in jumpsuits

  • parkp

    Even our own Central News like a little scoff at blues. I was convinced Gary Newbon and Bob Hall had shares in the Villa years ago!

    • almajir

      We all know Newbon’s a Villa fan

  • Pingback: View from the South – Sheffield United vs Birmingham City - Joys & Sorrows

  • viperblue

    I can only agree with Almajir but what i can not understand is at lunch time
    the match against Sheffield was being touted as a possible cup upset.
    Itv have got it wrong ..remember the beeb ..startedwith a club in a very early round
    and followed them to final,obviously whiching to which ever team won in each tie.
    That was always of great interest

  • viperblue

    what i can not understand is at lunch time
    the match against Sheffield was being touted as a possible cup upset.
    Itv have got it wrong ..remember the beeb ..started with a club in a very early round
    and followed them to final,obviously whiching to which ever team won in each tie.
    That was always of great interest

  • DoctorD

    Almajir — according to radiotimes.com, the editor of the higlights show last night was someone called Joe Blake-Turner. I can’t find an email for him but I bet he’s a closet Villa fan.

    Basically the editorial decision was: Liverpool/ManU and Brighton/Newcaslte are the big games of the day that neutrals are most likely to be interested in, and as they’ve both had loads of cameras at them, that’s what we’re going to focus on. The rest of you can have some scraps at the end.

    To add insult to injury, though, was that a huge chunk of the show was devoted to inane chat about those two games.

    I’d love to sit down once and write a transcript of some of the top football shows and just read back in the cold light of day what’s actually being said. I know football makes all of us come out in cliches. but I think ITV’s coverage is particularly bollocks.

  • harry blue nose

    What is it with just focusing on the big teams . I’ve seen it before when a big team had a boring 1-1 but still they had to analysis every single flipping detail . Then have long adverts, and then when we finally get to our team like for example this weekend we scored the most amount of goals in the fa cup games and then when you zoomed through all that instead of talking about are game your more botherd about flippen Neil warnock on him getting back in to football . Sort out !!

  • AuldBertie

    Thank god for my Tivo box. Having read everyone’s contribution I can now just cut to the 54-second chase and ignore the dross!

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