As I stood watching Bradley Wiggins neck two bottles of lager at a time at the after party, I reflected that perhaps the last gold medal of London 2012 should go to the Sports Personality of the Year presenters.
Gary Lineker, Clare Balding and Sue Barker presided over what actually ended up being three hours of live television with great calmness and skill. Sue even made Andy Murray laugh which is worth a prize if nothing else. The accomplished trio and a wealth of emotional montages were rewarded with a peak audience of 14.5million and more than 1.6million votes. Wiggo showed he has plenty of personality in his segments on the show, but there were some elements of the broadcast that failed to hit the spot…
Giving the team of the year prize to Team GB and Paralympics GB felt like a cop out. And a quick read of the rules showed that the corporation actually broke it’s own regulations by doing this and were only able to because of a unanimous decision by the panel. Wasn’t that the moment to reward the Ryder Cup team, or even an individual sport from the Olympic or Paralympic teams?
Secondly, some individual medal winners were paraded onto the stage with great fanfare, but weren’t given an opportunity to speak. When Nicola Adams was briefly interviewed she was surrounded by other winners who hovered awkwardly behind her. Their introductions felt like a waste of time when they could have walked on together and actually spoken with the presenters or offered insight.
And although it wasn’t the BBC’s fault, the fact nominee Rory McIlroy didn’t even pre-record a chat was a let down for golf fans or those keen to hear from the only non-Olympic nominee.
But overall the night ticked all the boxes, including the one that says Emeli Sande must perform at every awards show in 2012. A job well done for the BBC, and a deserved night of celebration for their excellent coverage of the Olympics over the summer. But as Bradley and the production team look back, the only sobering thought is how you follow it up next year and make a big and exciting SPOTY 2013 with no London 2012.
Mark Jefferies is Deputy TV editor at the Daily Mirror