Oldroyd leads way as BBC scoop four broadcast awards

PHILIP BARKER, co-chairman of the broadcast judges, reports on the winners and highly commended at the 2016 SJA British Sports Journalism Awards at the Westminster Park Plaza Hotel tonight.

There is something about the Olympic Games and the Beeb. When it comes to covering the biggest sporting event on the planet, BBC Television has an impressive habit for hitting the nail on the head.

GOLDEN VOICE: John Murray (left) receives his award from Mike Ingham, CO-CHAIR OF judges

This time it was Rio 2016 which won BBC Television the Television Sport Live Broadcast Award, following from similar recognition in 2012.

“British Athletes in Rio were at top of their game and so was the BBC,” was the verdict of the judges on a superb night for the corporation. BT Sport’s Champions League and Sky’s Open Golf were both highly commended.

BBC Radio 5Live’s versatile John Murray  is our Sports Commentator for 2016. A leading football commentator, his duties in Rio included handling the showpiece opening ceremony. Judges said that he was “versatile and authoritative with a poetic turn of phrase”.

Former SJA winner Alison Mitchell was highly commended, as was BBC Radio Leicester’s Ian Stringer.

The Broadcast Sports Presenter Award went to BBC Radio 5Live’s popular Eleanor Oldroyd for the second time in three years. This is what the judges had to say about her: “She paints a vivid picture and shows empathy and humour but never lacks authority.”

Her BBC colleague Mark Chapman and talkSPORT’s Mark Saggers were highly commended.

There was another honour for Oldroyd, as presenter of the winning Radio Sports Factual programme. ‘Fight to the Finish’ was a searing documentary on Belgian Paralympian Marieke Vervoort, who made headlines when she made public her desire to plan for an assisted suicide.

PAIN GAME: Paralympian Marieke Vervoort

The judges said: “A difficult subject was handled with considerable sensitivity to produce a thought-provoking but compelling programme, which was deeply moving and surprisingly uplifting.”

BBC Radio 5Live were also highly commended with their tribute to Munster rugby coach Anthony Foley and ‘Hillsborough the Truth’.

Who can forget Euro 2016, a joyous journey to the semi-final for the Welsh and humiliation for England at the hands of Iceland? The mixed emotions were superbly portrayed by the talkSPORT team, who won our Live Radio Broadcast award for the first time.

The judges said: “They get as close as radio personalities can get to that raw emotion felt when football takes over your life.”

BBC 5Live’s Olympic coverage and BBC Somerset’s original offering on the progress of Yeovil Town Ladies were both highly commended.

VERSATILE: Paul Kelso (L) is presented with the Broadcast Journalist Award by James Pearce (Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)

Paul Kelso  joins a select band to have won an SJA award in both print and broadcast categories. He was named as 2016 Broadcast Journalist for his “excellent range of reporting and coolness in delivering pieces to camera in testing and sometimes hostile circumstances”.

His award will be a companion for his Sports News Reporter trophy in 2011. He beat off stern competition from BBC Sports News correspondent Richard Conway, who followed last year’s win with a highly-commended entry.

Sky Sports came away with the award for Television Sports Factual or Feature for ‘Imran‘. Michael Atherton and his crew travelled to Pakistan to make “a fascinating and revealing portrait of a legendary cricketer’s life and passions and his experience in politics post retirement.

“Dealing with issues and controversies head-on, and benefitting from the presenter’s penetrating and authoritative questions, the end result was excellent, attractive and compelling.”

The Guardian’s forensic presentation ‘Hillsborough: The Anatomy of a Disaster’ and ‘Bernie at Home’, Sky Sports’ portrait of former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone were highly commended.


Broadcast Sports Presenter
Winner: Eleanor Oldroyd – BBC Radio 5Live

Broadcast Journalist
Winner: Paul Kelso – Sky News

Radio Sport Factual or Feature
Winner: BBC Radio 5Live – Fight to the Finish: The Story of Marieke Vervoort

Radio Sport Live Broadcast
Winner: talkSPORT – Euro 2016

Sports Commentator
Winner: John Murray – BBC Radio 5Live

Television Sport Factual or Feature
Winner: Sky Sports – Imran

Television Sport Live Broadcast
Winner: BBC Sport – Olympics

Rights-free images from today’s SJA British Sports Journalism Awards are available upon request.

For media or general enquiries regarding the SJA contact: Nick Townsend on 07801183766 or
James Green on 0208 916 2493 or