Ben Edwards to join BBC commentary team


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Ben Edwards

Ben Edwards will commentate on F1 for the BBC in 2012, according to the presenter.

Edwards told his Twitter followers: “So, it looks as though it’s really happening. I will be the BBC F1 commentator in 2012 and I can’t wait.

“It took a while for things to be sorted, and thanks to ITV for being so understanding. Really looking forward to working with the crew.”

Edwards previously commentated on F1 on Eurosport and on the pay-per-view F1 Digital+ channel which ceased operations in 2002. He has also voiced many of the F1 season review DVDs.

He has commentated on a range of other motor racing series including the British Touring Car Championship on ITV.

The BBC have already confirmed Jake Humphrey Lee McKenzie, Eddie Jordan and David Coulthard will remain on their team in 2012. Last week Sky announced David Croft, Anthony Davidson, Natalie Pinkham and Ted Kravitz had left the BBC to join them for next year.

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    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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    86 comments on “Ben Edwards to join BBC commentary team”

    1. Great news!

      His commentary for Eurosport on F1 and then CART was brilliant.

        1. Thanks Keith, I have very good memories from Edwards commenting as well.

          1. Nice one bbc they’re so ashamed of loosing martin brundle they won’t even make an announcement that he’s been replaced.

            @keithcollantine at least there are real reporters still at work for those of us who couldn’t give a monkeys about twitter.

        2. WOW…….. that Michael Andretti/Juan Montoya finish is unreal, never seen it before, respect to Montoya for keeping the foot down, he didn’t have a whole pile of room!!

        3. After watching those videos Keith, my mind has been made up for me. I don’t care if half the races aren’t live. I think I may well be saving my money next year and going for the BBC coverage if that is the level of commentary we are going to have.

          Fantastic stuff. Really very, very good. :D

      1. Sorry but I used to think that he talked too much, maybe my problem was with Watson, I cant recall too young.

      2. Agreed. I have great memories of Ben commentating on CART.

    2. Who needs Brundle, eh? :P

      1. Who’s Brundle :)

        was he that fella who disappeared on to Sky never to be seen again.

    3. SennaNmbr1 (@)
      13th December 2011, 17:51

      Finally they get it right. Not that Brundle and DC were a bad combo, but Ben Edwards is very good. Should’ve gone with him from the start instead of Legard.

      1. @SennaNmbr1 I must say given his previous connection to Sky I’m surprised he didn’t end up there.

    4. I too enjoyed his commentary, so we will see how this hashes out.

      However, it is going to take a mammoth effort for the beeb to keep up with the quality of Sky’s broadcast. As both versions of coverage are available to me via alternative means, I will be watching coverage of the same races from both coverage teams to see which I think is more enjoyable. Some watch SpeedTV, some watch SpeedTV with the sound off to listen to 5 live commentary, some watch the Beeb with MB and DC, some watch the beeb with 5 live radio.

      Me, I will watch each entirely on its own and see how the quality shakes out.

      In before “cool story bro”

      If you want to know how I watch all different forms of motor racing, there is a method of torrenting which involves a highly secretive and exclusive website. I am not a part of this website, but I am a part of a less-exclusive and less-secretive website where other users post that exclusive coverage. Confused yet? Dont be. Shoot me a message.

    5. Ben Edwards is one of my favourite commentators ever. He really makes the show and can make anything seem exciting.

      I’m a little bit annoyed that Sky didn’t pick him up, as I’ve dreamt for years of a Brundle-Edwards commentary line up. That would have been the ultimate pairing.

      It’s just disappointing that we’re finally getting him, but he’s going to be on the BBC, which, to be honest, not a huge amount of people are going to be watching I shouldn’t imagine.

      1. Many more people have the BBC than have Sky.

        The BBC’s feed will probably still be the world feed.

        1. I’m not so sure. I think OneHD (Australia) might be going with Sky. It’ll be interesting to see what happens. It’s going to be a touch choice who to listen to though! I might end up watching every race twice at this rate…

      2. Don’t know what way the world feed will be, but in the UK, Sky subscription viewing figures are nothing compared to BBC.

      3. It’s lunacy to think more people will watch on Sky than BBC.

    6. Bit of a shame for the BTCC

      1. I agree, it’s great that Ben is moving to commentate on Formula 1 but it’s a huge loss for the BTCC. Him and Tim Harvey were a great commentary duo.

    7. Weal, Sky are welcome to Pinkham. Disapointed that the BBC lost Croft, for I always harked after he, fantastic that we (those that won’t ever pay Murdoch a penny) got Ben Edwards, and kept Coulthard.

      Brundle was excellent last year, but it’s clear that he’s in it for the money. And while thats fair enough, after all his pre-sky twitter rubbish it’s just made me loose a ton of respect for him.

      Edwards involvement in the high moments make him absolutley top class, great capture by the BBC.

      1. Brundle was excellent last year, but it’s clear that he’s in it for the money

        I dont think so. It seems to me he didn’t want to stay with a broadcaster who’d only be doing half the races, and less chance to do in depth pieces. I imagine he was being paid fairly well by the beeb in the first place.

        1. He was complaining (!) about paying 50% tax so that puts him North of 150k at the beeb, depending on his other income.

          He always lamented the lack of technical coverage of F1 so I’d imagine the pitch was more about what Sky can do with that than monetary – and given the choice you’d choose the broadcaster with the all-races-live deal too, no?

          1. He’s said fairly straight that the decision was swayed heavily by the way the BBC made the deal without consulting the production team and then failed to inform them before the information was given to the press. Basically, he didn’t want to work for people that treated him like that. And who can blame him?

            Since then he’s been spouting the live coverage line, which I don’t doubt is somewhat true but is mostly the corporate line and a bit of subtle promo.

            I don’t think he is exactly in need of a few quid, can’t imagine money is a major factor at all.

      2. Brundle was excellent last year, but it’s clear that he’s in it for the money. And while thats fair enough, after all his pre-sky twitter rubbish it’s just made me loose a ton of respect for him.

        @Scribe – I disagree that Brundle did it for the money. Imagine if you were Brundle and had the two choices before you…

        On one hand, you have the offer from Sky who are screening every race live, launching a brand new channel for the coverage and have publicly committed to improving the standard of F1 broadcasts.

        On the other hand, you have the offer from BBC to commentate live on only half of the races, with less airtime for you, less build-up and coverage for the races that are not being shown live and doubts about the corporation’s commitment to the sport in future years.

        Are you saying that you would prefer the BBC offer?

        What if a few years down the line the BBC quit F1 altogether? By then, Sky would likely have a lead commentator entrenched (Crofty/Ben Edwards) and you (you still being Martin Brundle) may be unable to commentate live on the races at all.

    8. Great news! I’ll at least be watching the races that are live on the BBC, so relieved they’ve hired the best man for the job :)

    9. so he’ll leave the BTCC commentary next year?

      1. Thats the sad part of it. I wonder who is going to join Tim Harvey for that job.
        I know that some of you wouldn’t agree but I always enjoyed James Allen alongside Brundle in his ITV years. But Allen might be a bit to much involved in F1 only to commentate the BTCC.

        1. who will be lead commentator for sky? surely crofty isnt the back up guy?

    10. Spoilt for choice now, Edwards was awesome on A1GP. I’ll probably follow Brundle to Sky, but don’t hate on me, I’m not paying the bills! XD

    11. I thought i read somewhere Ben Edwards was not a keen flyer

      1. I’d drive to the races if someone gave me a job that meant I needed to be at all of them!

    12. Finally.

      I look forward to the interviews over the radio as the drivers are on the drivers are on the warm up lap, waiting behind the safety car or straight after crossing the finish line!

      Seriously though he is responsible for my interest in F1 from his time on Eurosport. I was very young at the time but whenever possible I would watch all the practice sessions and Friday qualifying. Ben seems to have an ability to draw the audience in and make them feel like they are part of the event with his no nonsense commentary, knowledge, excitement, seriousness and professionalism.

      The conspiracy theorist in me has always suspected that there was something in the past that has kept Ben off of the BBC. I have never found out what it was…

    13. As someone who has the choice of BBC or Sky, I think maybe I’ll watch the pre and post race stuff on Sky and the race on the BBC. I love Edward’s commentary, but I do hope he’ll continue doing the BTCC when he can.

      1. Will Sky not have advertisements post and pre race??

        1. Yes, but I like the sound of Brundle’s technical things.

          1. u may record the BBC’s pre show then watch it later and if really into F1 record the Sky race and watch it later. 8 or 9 hours later u will b done!

    14. Excellent news for a change from the BBC. I personally was having nightmares of Legard coming back.

      I know I will be in the minority but would rather have Coulthard for the analyst role than Brundle so this line up is perfect.

      1. completely agree with you i absolutely hate brundle he always gets things wrong, misses obvious pieces of action and his voice and attitude just annoys me. dc is better but last years commenty was s***

        idea line up would be croft and davidson but if not edwards and dc will be good mainly due to edwards though

    15. Me too @snowman, if Legard had come back that would have been the nail in the coffin for me!

    16. I didn’t see a link to Ben’s twitter feed btw so here he it is:!/bennythebulb

      Really am torn now who to watch the shared live races with. Ben Edwards is the dog’s doodads when it comes to motor-racing commentary. I wish the BBC had gone with him over Leggard in 2009. Allegedly he was in the frame but the Beeb wanted him to commit to cover F1 exclusively and wouldn’t allow him to work as freelancer which would allow him to provide BTCC commentary for ITV whilst still doing F1 for the BBC. Given that the BTCC never clashes with F1 I have no idea why, beyond, pettiness, the BBC didn’t allow this.

      1. There are actually several clashes between the F1 and BTCC calendars for 2012. Which is rather annoying as I like to attend as many BTCC events as I can but I also never miss a live F1 race!

    17. That is brilliant news! Makes me more inclined to steer away from the live streams, look at the results after the race but view the action for the first time in the BBC show.

      It’s nice to see that the BBC viewers (like me) haven’t got completely shafted in the deal (aside from the obvious things) and that we’ll still have a quality line up.

    18. We have caved and gone for Sky. The full channel and HD Practise did it for me.

      They must must must live up to their own hype though and deliver a much deeper fan orientated coverage than the beebs (IMHO) a bit too mainstream one.

      If it isn’t that much better (or heck even worse) that they will be dropped like a ton of bricks.

      1. “If it isn’t that much better (or heck even worse) that they will be dropped like a ton of bricks.”

        and that is how rupert murdoch became a rich man because no one ever leaves regardless of what they tell them selves. :P

        1. The reason people don’t leave is because Sky television is absolute quality. It’s suddenly become trendy to dish out insults to Sky during this whole tv rights saga. People neglect to remember the quality of the services Sky offer.

          1. I disagree with this reply passionately. The only reason many people (including myself) are with Sky is they have a virtual monopoly in multi channel in non cabled areas. I hate them because they are awful, and myself for being their customer.

            Virgin are far superior and better value.

            1. @peteleeuk

              Okay, you’re entitled to your opinion.

              I’ve had both Virgin and Sky, and I can say that Virgin have far superior internet, it doesn’t even compare.

              But their tv packages are a joke. Sports? Movies? Ridiculously expensive! And don’t start me on the boxes, they are sooooo slow! They lag so much!!! When you rewind and play it starts at a difference place to where you want it to. They have far less HD channels. Even the red button doesn’t properly work!

              Virgin are far superior and better value

              Have you seen how much extra you have to pay to get just one sports channel?!!?

              The only thing I really like about Virgin is catch up tv (iplayer, 4OD). Sky are lagging behind there.

            2. @cduk so pete’s entitled to his opinion but not me? Sounds a little bit some are more equal than others to me. :P

              seriously though the only “good” thing about sky is the sports channels. Everything else i watch is by the bbc because they have *the best* comedy in the world bar non. Sky doesn’t even recognise it as a genre there selection is that poor and i have never missed any sporting event on sky that i wanted to watch. I find it down right comical that people shell out outrageous pay per view prices for boxing matches, (as an example) that are available live on certain websites and then full downloads the next day. I have to wonder if sky even attempts to stop people doing this because i can find videos of for instance haye vs klitschko in full, including the build up and post fight interview that have been up since the day after the fight (3rd of july) up to right now with out being messed with once.

    19. I like his commentating in the DVD reviews so will be interesting!

    20. Actually he last commentated on F1 in 2009 for F1 in Cinema, during the Abu Dhabi GP (and 2008 as well on a few occasions – Canada, Italy, Silverstone, Monaco).

    21. I have never got the hype about Edwards, but then people like Croft who has a similar style, so I guess there’s something wrong with me :P I would rate him above Croft and Legard though.

      The BBC really needed this, they’d lost the expert analyst, a popular commentary partnership and an excellent pitlane reporter. This is the softener to the blow to fans who won’t or can’t get Sky next year. All they need is James Allen to replace Ted Kravitz and they might just have saved their line-up from the gutting Sky gave it.

    22. Thank god I won’t be subjected to the intensely irritating ‘Crofty’; a man prone to unfounded and ill-informed speculation and with an inability to string more than 2 words together without saying ‘errrrrrrrr’. I will never understand his apparent popularity.

      1. What’s next from you, complaining about being subjected to intensely irritating mistakes and mis-spoken racing position calls from Murray Walker?

        1. Are you a fan of Crofty?

    23. I’ve suddenly got this horrible image of Louise Goodman doing the commentary for BTCC.

      1. LOL Hope not!

        They’ll probably just get one of the support race commentators to step up to commenate on the whole thing. There’s at least three of them that could do it, but it must be pretty tiring to be talking almost non stop for 6 hours!

    24. as much as i like ben’s commentary its not enough to sway me away from sky.

      reason been that what sky seem like they will offer appeals to me more, i like the sound of the extras they will provide & the technical stuff thats been talked about really appeals to me.

      plus as much as i like ben i hated coulthard’s commentary through 2011 & can’t stand eddie jordan. sky’s team in my opinion is much better than the bbc team.

      i can see bbc aiming there coverage at the casual fans while sky will go all out for the hardcore fans like myself & offer us more information, more in-depth technical features & have more in-depth coverage overall.

      1. I would rather see any member of the 2011 bbc team interviewing legends than steve ryder cup, even if i did get sky that part of it would be completely unwatchable for me because when i see his face i want to punch it.

        1. steve ryder wont be a part of the f1 race broadcast though.

          he will be presenting some of the stuff shown on the sky f1 channel inbetween race weekends.

          as such if your just intrested in watching practice/qualifying/race you won’t have to see steve at all.

          1. Thank god for that i will be watchin skys broadcast next year… just not through them.

    25. Will still be watching everything live on Sky.

      I worked with Ben Edwards a bit in 2002 on F1 Digital+ & he’s a great guy, very knowledgeable on F1 & a real good commentator. Little known fact is that when he was brought into the F1 Digital+ coverage in 2002 he originally wasn’t going to commentate, He was going to be a studio analyst alongside Matthew Lorenzo. Bernie came in, Saw Ben sitting at a table & John Watson sitting in the commentary area alone & been a big fan of Ben’s told him to get into the commentary area.

      Anyway having some additional knowledge of the Sky coverage which hasn’t come out officially yet, The Sky coverage will be the closest to F1 Digital+ your going to get in terms of content & some of the stuff sounds like the pre-race features & post race analysis will easily surpass F1 Digital+ & anything the BBC will be able to do.

      Also it sounds like Sky will be aiming at the more hardcore fan & ask Brundle/Croft & Kravitz to go into more technical details during the race coverage. Will be a bit like the American SPEED Channel coverage where rather than just explain the basics, They will really go right into it in a way the more hardcore/knowledgeable F1 fan will appreciate & love.

      Sky will also have more access via FOM as there will be quite a few current/Ex-FOM staff working with the Sky coverage.
      Also heard talk of Sky been able to talk to teams/drivers live via team radio as was done on the 2002 F1 Digital+ coverage.

      1. Thanks for the info GT_Racer, sounds like both broadcasters may have a place in the world (UK).

        Sky certainly have the opportunity with the decicated channel to offer a lot of buildup and backgroung/backstage feed. And if they put in choices, they might become the preffered station for the hardcore fans who can afford it.

        Personally I think the BBC might be able to still get a quite decent share of the viewers if they time their race summaries for viewing at good times for the fly away races (might just mean less people get up early for them) and have a gripping commentary (that seems to be looking good now).

      2. I love GT_Racer’s industry insights. Fascinating stuff.

    26. My only problem with this is that I fear that we could be losing the great partnership between some of this journalists and experts

      The BBC have already confirmed Jake Humphrey Lee McKenzie, Eddie Jordan and David Coulthard will remain on their team in 2012. Last week Sky announced David Croft, Anthony Davidson, Natalie Pinkham and Ted Kravitz had left the BBC to join them for next year.

      We used to listen to David Croft and Anthony Davidson in pratice and Martin Brundle and DC in Races but now Crofty is with Brundle and Ben Edwards with DC how will this guys hang out together some receiving much bigger salarys than before and being part of a different team.

    27. Sky need to get anthony Davidson out of there. ..BBC Jake Humphrey & DC Are shocking too.

      1. I have to disagree with your DC comment. Yes, he’s way too biased towards RBR, and Sebastian ‘Vetelle’, but I do enjoy his dry sense if humour and one liners. I think he will go well with Ben Edwards

        I remember reading somewhere that Brundle and croft had a falling out at some point… Anyone else remember that??

    28. Got to say I don’t think David Croft will go down very well on TV. I think his radio role suits him well, but I remember when he commentated on GP2 for ITV2 back in 2007/8 and he was way too shouty. It just didn’t work. Legard has shown the transition from radio to tv is very difficult to make.

    29. This has put a big smile on my face after months of dissapointment. Brundle said all the right things then the first thing he says at sky is that ‘fans will win’. Brundle really dissapointed me with this comment.

      Well, finally well done BBC. We don’t forgive you but this is the first step to redemption.

    30. Does any one know what the world feed or OneHD in Australia is broadcasting? I think we’re getting every race live, so at least half of them would be sky. Would they swap between sky and bbc or just stick with sky through out the whole season?

      1. Not announced yet, not sure how long the BBC coverage contracts are for with the different broadcasters around the world. Just because we in the UK are not getting the BBC races live I wouldn’t be so sure you wouldn’t still get the BBC feed – it will be commentated on live and edited down for us to view later, they could still pump out that commentary as it takes place to broadcasters they are selling it to.

    31. The only people i like better than Ben’s BTCC coverage are those guys who seem to commentate on all the bike series on Eurosport. They always have people coming and going into the commentary box and generally just mess about.

    32. I think this is about the best news we could have had. Dodged a Legard bullet there. I think this Edwards/Coultard combination should work really well, I love Edwards style already and can imagine them complimenting each other well.

      Over on the dark side I have serious doubts about Brundle and Croft gelling, think it could be a right mess, Legard style. We’ve heard what happened before when a successful F1 radio commentator transferred to TV with both commentators wanting to take a lead roll, even Brundle couldn’t make that work last time and I don’t see why he will this time.

      Only time will tell……

    33. I’m glad the BBC are getting him, definitely a good commentator and thank god Legard isn ‘t coming back! :p

      I’m also glad they’re not sharing the commentary team as was proposed since I didn’t see how that could really work when for instance Brundle goes to Ted in the pits, there’d be so much stuff either muted or whatever, just wouldn’t have worked. I’m lucky I’ve got Shy HD so will be watching it on Sky, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be watching the BBC highlights show for every race to get further perspectives on the races, so the different commentary line up will be great for that.

      For the record I think Sky are assembling a great channel and clearly making a great effort to really please us F1 fans, I wish people would stop with the vitriolic and childish comments about being betrayed or Brundle going where the money is or whatever, that’s so nonsensical and not based on reality. Brundle and co want to cover F1 more in depth than the BBC can ever realistically afford. It’s a shame it won’t be free to view anymore but at least there is still some pretty comprehensive coverage on free to air, and half the races completely live, it could have been a lot worse and ultimately if you want to follow F1 you’ll still see more or less everything whether you pay or not. I do think, give it a couple of seasons and I can see F1 being a more popular sport, the casual fans who don’t pay Sky might indeed actually prefer the BBC approach with extended highlights, it might lure some people in who initially balk at the thought of watching cars go round in circles for an hour and a half and don’t ‘get’ it initially. For those into the sport who do invest they’re going to get a fully comprehensive engaging channel dedicated to their past-time, not sharing the limelight with football or boxing on the Sports channels or whatever. Will help make the committed fan even more of a diehard. In many ways all bases are covered with the new F1 deal in the UK. I’m pretty positive about it.

      1. @davidhunter13

        I wish people would stop with the vitriolic and childish comments about being betrayed or Brundle going where the money is or whatever, that’s so nonsensical and not based on reality.

        Couldn’t agree more. The BBC/Sky deal is a disgrace but don’t take it out on Brundle.

        1. @keithcollantine @davidhunter13 A guy with the talent he has would be wasted on the BBC. He almost has an obligation to be at the forefront of our television for all things F1.

    34. Wow this is a surprise. Not the fact that it’s Ben Edwards, but that BBC will even run their own commentary. So he’ll be commentating on 10 races live; and in 9 races; he will commentate for 90 minutes to 2 hours; for 30 to 60 minutes of it to be deleted?

      1. @raymondu999 Hardly unusual in the world of Sport coverage – especially where ‘Free TV’ is covering highlights of an event shown live on Sky.

        Think Football and Match of the Day, or the Cricket highlights that go out on Channel Five. They commentate on the matches live, in full, even though its only being shown in highlights form.

    35. Not at all familiar with this guy so I will tune into the BBC at some point to listen in…providing of course that us Virgin Media customers don’t get a raw deal from Sky/Virgin Media!

    36. stephenhiggins53
      14th December 2011, 15:09

      Mixed feelings for me.

      Don;t get me wrong, Ben is a brilliant commentator (I remember him screaming “KANAAN HAS GONE PAST !! during one of his Eurosport ChampCar commentaries a few years ago)but personally I think it’s a shame we’ll be losing his partnership with Tim Harvey from the BTCC next year.

      Also, under the contract between the BBC/Sky/Satan, he won’t have that many races to commentate on live, and he’ll need to form the same kind of partnership with David Coulthard.

      I think he should have made this move when the Beeb first came back in ’09’, but I know he’s a pro and he did great job for F1 on Eurosport wth John Watson in the 1990’s.

      So who now will front and commentate on the BTCC ??

      Should the Beeb and and buy the BTCC rights back for when the F1 contract totally expires and Sky get to show ALL the races ??

      1. @stephenhiggins53
        Edwards/DC will still be commentating live, even when we’re not able to watch it live on BBC

    37. I’m still waiting to see if I’m having Edwards/Coulthard or Brundle/Croft on my TV… I have to admit I don’t mind given the two lineups… Brundle might just swing it for me, but I’m not against Edwards at all…

      Coulthard’s ‘DRS has been disactivated’ line still gets me…

    38. Admittedly he has just begun to commentate but so far (for me anyway) he doesn’t know when to keep quiet! Hopefully he will settle and I certainly will give him a chance but at this time I find him too frenetic.

    39. Admittedly he has just begun to commentate but so far Ben Edwards (for me anyway) doesn’t know when to keep quiet! Hopefully he will settle and I certainly will give him a chance but at this time I find him too frenetic.

    40. Tom Edwards
      12th May 2013, 13:27

      I hope this Ben Edwards does not stay long at the BBC commentating on F1. I have never heard a more annoying person. If a driver twitches in the car he gets so excited and becomes totally incoherent. His voice gets higher and higher and faster and faster he actually destroys my enjoyment. Please move him to horse racing or any other sport I don’t care for.

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