Friday, December 11, 2009

Stuart Hall: A Knockout

This is one of those rare occasions where I am cross posting from my West Ham blog.

Last night Radio 5 Live broadcast a fantastic two hour long programme as a tribute to one of the greatest broadcasters who has ever lived - Stuart Hall. Unbelievably, Stuart will be 80 on Christmas Day, yet is still going strong. His football reports every week are a joy to listen to, even if you know nothing about football, and he is still a regular on BBC TV in the North West.

Those of you who are of my vintage will have first come across Stuart as the presenter of IT'S A KNOCKOUT. His trademark laugh always had me in stitches. He was a bit like Tommy Cooper. You just had to look at him and you'd smile.

I met Stuart once and he is exactly the same in real life as he is on the radio - hugely entertaining and a genuinely nice guy. In my view Stuart is one of the greatest cross-medium broadcasters of the last fifty years and it was great to hear 5 Live pay tribute to him. He deserved it.

If you missed the programme last night, click HERE to listen to it on the iPlayer. I promise you, you won't regret it.


Matt Doy said...

An infectious laugh too,a national treasure. His descriptions in his football reports are a joy to listen to.

Mark Reckons said...

Stuart Hall is an absolute legend.

I grew up in the North West and we were lucky enough to have Stuart as the main anchor on the BBC local news for several years when I was growing up. He was great in that role and it actually made local news worth watching regularly!

His football reports are incredible streams of consciousness, the likes of which I have never heard from anyone else. It's incredible to think he's nearly 80!

I met him too in the mid-90s. Me and a bunch of friends went to see an episode of the Granada quiz show "Quiz Night" being recorded of which he was the host. The warm-up man was rubbish but once Stuart came on, he was effectively his own warm-up man, getting the crowd going etc. He even got up and danced over the closing credits! I spoke to him briefly and he was only too happy for me and my friends to have our photo taken with him.

Happy Birthday Stuart!

Jim said...

Listening to Mr Hall being interviewed on the "Today" programme on radio4 this morning, I was interested to hear him attribute his continued success to the fact that he sees his style as that of an "amateur", eschewing the suave glibness & banality of the professional broadcaster. A lesson there for politicians too, perhaps?

I would note, however, that Stuart is very much a one-off; the odds of a succesful and profitable outcome seem to favour glib banality. How depressing!

DaveA said...

A great man who is highly articulate and erudite. Here is the classic penguin game from It's A Knock Out. The memories come flooding back, the legendary Eddie Wareing, Genra Olivieri and Guido Pancaldi the referees.....

Bill Quango MP said...

I listened to a bit.
Can't stand the man. Off goes 5 live when he starts droning on..

"Like knights atop a charger, creeeesting the summit, golden rays striking the breastplates of the manly, striding firmly, purposefully and determinedly to do their duty by their liege...
Yeovil 0 - Gillingham - 0."

Dave H said...

Never heard 5 Live (my radios only receive 92-95 MHz) but the words 'Stuart Hall' recall moments spent in helpless, out-of-breath laughter at images of people dressed in penguin costumes attempting to run on a large turntable while making largely vain attempts to fill buckets with water.

Another commenter has used the phrase ‘infectious laughter’, with Stuart Hall it easily turned into a pandemic. Am nostalgically-deep-down-cheered-up by the news he’s still going strong.

Mark Reckons said...

Bill, that is exactly why he is so great. He is able to take something like a no score draw between two small clubs and use words to paint a fantastical picture of what happened.

I wish they would bring It's a Knockout back!

Shamik said...

The show was brilliant!! All those stories, all the anecdotes and some classic clips, had me in stitches and then tears within moments.

The interview with Dixie Dean, an insight into another world; today's footballers don't realise just how good they have it. The same is probably true of us all.

Stuart Hall: LEGEND!!

Steve H said...

Never forget his foray into the travel agent busines when for a while he had a shop in the middle of Manchester with the following big sign above the door:


Bill Quango MP said...

Mark Reckons..
Stuart Hall and the theme to sports report make me cringe. Some things are there because they have always been there. But its just a matter of taste.

That said, as a child, It's a knockout was must see TV. He was brilliant at making a poor program enjoyable.

Shamik said...

Nooooooooo! It's sacrilege to say that about the Sports Report theme!! Give me Radio 5 over Sky Sports Gillette Soccer Saturday any day!

Trevor Malcolm, Portsmouth, Hampshire said...

Yes, Mr Iain Dale, sir, thank you for reminding us. It is shameful that "Down South" we've missed out on Stuart Hall's inimitable broadcasting style

But your memory-jogging mention took me right back to happier days. Days when we watched "It's A Knockout" and we laughed ourselves silly watching Mike Yarwood's impersonations of Mr Eddie Waring, commentating on rugby

Things have looked increasingly bleak since days that long ago. I don't think I'm wearing rose-tinted spectacles, either

We are genuinely all being trundled off to Hell in a handcart, whichever political party rules the roost

But thanks for the reminder of happier days, now long gone

No.1 It's A Knockout Fan said...

Love the show and love Stuart Hall... not only a clever talented man but funny (witty) too.