BBC to honour legendary commentator John Motson with night of TV specials

The retiring football commentator is getting a big send-off on the day of the FA Cup final with documentaries, quiz shows and more

John Motson

After an astonishing 50-year career of football commentating, John Motson is retiring this month – but the BBC is giving him a big send-off.

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On Saturday 19th May immediately after the FA Cup final, BBC2 will pay a “fitting tribute” to the man who has presided over 10 World Cup finals, 10 European Championships, 29 FA Cup Finals, over 200 England internationals and over 2000 football matches with a programme of documentaries and quiz specials designed to send him off into retirement with style.

Centrepiece documentary Motty: The Man Behind the Sheepskin will feature a look back on Motson’s career with interjections from friends, family and football legends including Gary Lineker, Ian Wright, two of his longest standing co-commentators Sir Trevor Brooking and Mark Lawrenson, and celebrity football fans Noel Gallagher and Sir Rod Stewart.

The night will also see the airing of one-off special Motty Mastermind, where Motson will take over from John Humphrys to quiz Arsenal Women’s Captain Alex Scott, former world boxing champion Anthony Crolla, football commentator Jonathan Pearce and record breaking swimmer Mark Foster.

Capping the whole thing off will be Countdown To The Full Motty, with Gary Lineker presenting a special countdown from some of Motson’s best commentaries over the last half-century.

“I’m truly humbled that the BBC is dedicating such a special evening to me,” Motson said.

“I’ve been very lucky to have witnessed some incredibly special moments in football and I look forward to sitting down with my family, and many football fans in the country, to look back on the past 50 years.”

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Motson’s final commentary will be heard on Match of the Day on 13th May, in a match between Crystal Palace and West Brom. Later that night, he’ll be presented with the Special Award at the Bafta TV Awards, which will be aired live from BBC1 at 8pm.