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ITV F1 wins 3rd straight BAFTA for Brazil coverage!
ITV F1 wins 3rd straight BAFTA for Brazil coverage!
Posted By:   |  26 Apr 2009   |  6:50 pm GMT  |  75 comments

I’m absolutely buzzing. Sitting here in the press room in Bahrain, tapping out my stories and I get a text from the Palladium in London to tell me that the ITV F1 coverage of the Brazilian Grand Prix has won the BAFTA for best sports programme.

It is the third year in a row that the team I was part of has won this most prestigious award.

We won for the show which covered Jenson Button’s 2006 Hungarian GP win, for the 2007 Canadian GP show where Lewis Hamilton won his first race and now the ultimate TV moment in my career has been rewarded with a third straight BAFTA.

This is really special because we were up against the BBC’s outstanding Olympic coverage and frankly we didn’t expect to win. But I guess the BAFTA judges must have taken the view that what happened in that final lap was so extraordinary and that we gave it the right coverage and soundtrack.

I’m really proud of the work of all the ITV crew, the production staff from North One TV and the presenters over the 12 years.

But I’m especially proud of those last few minutes, which showed F1 at its absolute finest.

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Nice work James, well done and well deserved. I used to like to dislike your Lewis 'bias' but now increasingly I am finding myself missing your commentary. The twitter feed works nice in the race though, and no other website is giving us the analysis that you are, as its unfolding.

You should be charging us a subscription fee . . . .


Congrats James. You and Martin were fantastic in commentating the closing moments of the race. Especially considering that the Five Live team hadn't worked out that Lewis had passed Glock!!


Well done james. Missing you this season, you and martin were brilliant. Im still not used to Jonathan Legard yet.

The coverage more than rightly deserved a BAFTA as i was off my seat for the last 20 laps.


Brilliant - congratulations James and all of the ex-ITV F1 team.

I just wish the BBC would oust the ultra boring Leggard and reunite you with Brundle in the commentary box.



It was a special moment and covered very well by ITV (as were all of the races from Australia 1997 until Brazil 2008). The award is richly deserved for all ITV's hard work.

I am a Massa fan (have been since 2002) and I was personally impressed that ITV, and especially yourself and Martin Brunde, gave him the credit he deserved on that day too. It would have been so easy to forget him in hailing the new (deserved) champion, yet you were balanced and fair throughout. A worthy win


Well done ITV. I much prefered the ITV coverage apart from the adverts of course. We need you back on our TV James!


Congratulations James! You must be absolutely delighted! Very very well deserved too. The soundtrack that you and Martin provided over those final few laps and corners was brilliant as was the whole show.

You are very much wanted back on sunday afternoon's.

Changing the subject a little, would it interest you at all to do a little piece on this site about how life has changed for you since you left the commentary box? Who do you travel with, watch the race with and how has your schedule at a GP weekend changed? Perhaps give us an insight as to what the atmosphere is like in the press room? Do you and/or any others in there listen to commentary or just make your own observations? Obviously you must miss the commentating but do you prefer life out of the box in a way? More relaxing and less stressful maybe?

Would be really interested to hear from you on this.

Keep up the good work, this site is fantastic!

The Kitchen Cynic

"Is that Timo Glock?!?"



Congratulations James! Thoroughly deserved!


Well done James, you deserve it. The sooner you get back in the commentary box the better!


That is absoulutly fantastic, and it deserved to win.

When I saw Glock wobbling and loosing control my heart and adrenalin was pumping just like I was there.

Bloody hell what a day that was. Fantastic.

Well done James, you deserve it.

Great blog once again.

Keep it up.


Hungary 2006... Canada 2007... Brazil 2008... there's something in common between those 3 races isn't there, I just can't think what it might be without 'God Save the Queen' going off in my head and distracting me.

But seriously, would it be cynical of me to suggest that the BAFTA (B stands for British, remember) organisers are looking to reward sporting rather than broadcasting achievements? Regardless, congratulations to all of the ITV team who did as good a job as always at Brazil '08. I think the bit where Ted Kravitz went into the grandstand with the Union Jack justifies this award on its own!


Awesome, really happy for you. It's one of my most memorable sporting moments ever too.


Well done James and the rest of the ITV F1 team.

Regardless of the rights or wrongs of the broadcasting changes for this year, the BBC have an impossibly high standard to aspire to.

Judging from the quality of this blog though, I doubt it's the last award you'll be winning.

Enjoy your night celebrating. Richly deserved.


Many congratulations James - I do remember the excellent commentary in those closing moments as absolutley 'on the money' right to the bitter end.


congratulations james - well deserved.


Great, congratulations to you and the ITV team.


Congratulations James on this deserved success. It was an incredible race and both MB and yourself did an excellent job. There surely cannot be a race like that again?
F1 is going through a golden age at present.
Today's race was lost by Toyota through poor strategy and perhaps driving not being as good as it should be.
You do wonder where Toyota would be if they had a truly world class driver at the wheel such as Alonso, Hamilton or Vettel. Perhaps they should try to entice M Schumacher back. Would these drivers have allowed the stragegy to unfold as it did?




Fantastic. You deserve it!


congrats James. That final lap in Brazil was one of the most dramatic events I've seen in any sport.


Hey Congratulations James, Fantastic stuff.

Fan from Philly.


Fantastic news James, many congratulations! Your commentary during the final lap in Brazil really did put Five Live's efforts to shame...A very well deserved Bafta indeed!


How do we get you you back commentating on F1? That new guy, with all due respect, is hopeless. His Bahrain commentary was embarrassing. He kept making obvious comments and stepping all over Brundle. He's like a low rent Murray Walker. Anyway, I'm sure he's a nice guy, but I don't want to listen to him anymore.



Congratulations but I'm sorry...I have to say BBC are doing a much better job this year than ITV ever did.
Some reasons:
- The red button stuff after the race is fantastic and doesn't eat into the drivers press conference. It was maddening in previous years to have to listen to Mark Blundell struggle with the English language whilst the comments of the top drivers (you know, the gladiators who are out there putting on a show) was sometimes cut out completely (unless they were British of course...)

- the BBC are actually covering FORMULA ONE(!) It is NOT 'The Lewis Hamilton Story' (or it's predecesor 'At Home with the Buttons').
I have to ask - was there an explicit editorial decision made by ITV to ram Hamilton (and previously Button) down our throats?? Such was the heavy-handed, jingoistic, OTT coverage that it did neither driver any favour in the end. For example Steve Ryder's doe-eyed interviews with Hamilton were truly terrifying - I kept expecting him to jump up and start dry-riding Lewis' leg like a badly behaved terrier.
And James you weren't far behind yourself in the Hamilton worship...
I could never understand how professional, intellegent broadcasters did not realise how repellant this became. I know you were trying to satisify the newer viewers and you will point out that viewing figures increased over 07/08 but I don't care - it was utter cack.

- NO AD BREAKS :-)...

I think ITV did a good job in Brazil last year - that self-depecating 'Carry On' sequence was cheese-tasticly brilliant. But really, such was the drama in those final laps it was not a big ask to make it exciting. And if I remember correctly Brundle was the first one to cotton on to the fact that Hamilton had won the WDC.

I'm sorry to be harsh. I actually don't think Legard brings as much enthusiasm to the job as you did and that you were more knowledgleable and passionate about the sport.

However I also believe you are a much better writer and journalist than you are TV commentator.

Sorry, just had to say it. Keep up the blog, it's fantastic. Even Richard 'Sniff Petrol' Porter has praised it!


Congratulations James! Well done.


Congratulations James (and Martin, Ted and co)! You guys did a fantastic job and deserve this award.

We're missing you on TV you know. Personally I am a bit disappointed with Mr Legard who seems to be as much a spectator as I am. 🙂
I am also missing Ted Kravitz's column after each GP - he doesn't seem to write any for the beeb.

Hoping to hear you on air soon!


Congratulations James!

When are the BBC going to realise their mistake and employ you instead of old Lethargic Legard?

Loving the twitter updates by the way, have you thought of using Audioboo? http://audioboo.fm it would be great to hear your thoughts as well.


Shame the whole pace and tension of the race was spoilt with going for a break every 15 minutes..... I liked the ITV set-up I would even forgive (mentioning no names) the constant bias for Ferrari and MS over the years. I can't tell you though how many dozens of races ITV ruined for me/us over the last 12 years. Frankly the Beeb could run the show with a blind director and two mute commentators and based purely on not having the race broken up every 15minutes by ads would mean the beeb would get my vote every time.


Congratulations!!! Great GP and great work from ITV.
If I must choose a GP to keep, this is the one.


Which is another reason why you should be back where you belong... commentating on F1 for the BBC


Congratulations on a great achievement, it is well deserved James!!!

Your coverage is always excellent, and the Brazil race was the most exciting I have ever had the pleasure to witness.

Its also great we have the opportunity to say thanks to you one on one via this site.

Im sure Murray is proud.


Congratulations James! You did a great job at that race and I hope to see you back in the commentator's box soon!


Fantastic news James...and well deserved! I think this is a triumphant exclamation mark at the end of a great partnership between your and Martin, and ITVs great coverage as a whole.

I know I speak for many, many people when I say we're missing the words "Thank you Steve, hello everybody" at the start of each race, but your blog and twitter feed are excellent!



James I'm absolutely delighted for you. Well done and very well deserved. I have always been an admirer of your broadcast work, I regret that you're not currently calling the Grands Prix.

I normally avoid mentioning your critics but on this occasion, I hope this third BAFTA at least plays some part in encouraging them to consider recanting!


Congratulations!!! Fully deserved!!!


Hey James, Congratulations from Philly..... Great Job.


I find it interesting that all three of the awards coincided with British drivers winning a race/championship...

On a separate note, I find it highly amusing that so many of your countrymen called for your head when you were commentating but now there's even an online petition to bring you back. I've always thought that you were very good. Keep up the good work with your blog!


I wonder if Jonathan Legard will win 3 BAFTAs for his commentaries......

It goes to show James, that what myself and some here have said all along is true, you are a top commentator.

Who collected it for ITV?

It cant have been Steve Rider, he was at Thruxton along with Louise Goodman, Martin and Ted were of course in Bahrain along with yourself.......

The shining light of a what I sadly say is a poor shadow of the ITV of old: James Allen, Martin Brundle and the now former F1 Crew.

Jake's doing a great job, personally i prefer Mike Gascoyne to Eddie Jordan as pundit as the word me comes out a lot less, DC's good, Martin good as ever, Lee just isnt up to the standard of Louise and Jonathan.....seems to have garnered more hatred in one race than you did in 8 years (from the "minority").

Any chance of the triple BAFTA award winning James Allen returning to the commentary box anytime soon?


Delighted to hear you got the Bafta - the coverage of Brazil was epic, and you can be proud that whenever the moment is replayed, you will be part of the story.


well deserved for you, Martin and ITV.


Many congratulations to you and all the ITV-F1 team. Thoroughly deserved for what was a confusing, emotional and tense time at the end of that GP. Just thinking about it now gives me butterflies!!

Your twitter commentary is great as well, I don't know how you stayed so disciplined with your writing during those early laps! I only have access to the Italian TV feed, so to have your words to help decipher whats going on is a great help.



Hi James,

Congratulations but personally I don't think that moment at the end of the Brazilian GP was all that great coverage at all to be honest.

You didn't pick up on Hamilton passing Glock until they crossed the line. I'm sure I wasn't alone in screaming at the TV screen that the Toyota had to be Glock as they came around that last corner. I know it was a confusing time (wasn't it Massa snr?!) but I don't think ITV clarified it that quickly.

Having said that.

I am desperately, desperately missing your commentary this year. You never know what you had til it's gone and Johnathan Legard is far inferior to your knowledge of the sport.

You could always recognise drivers by their helmets and he hasn't got a bloody clue. At one point yesterday he said something like, "And now Webb.. no Vettel is stuck behind the... the Trulli".

The rest of the bbc coverage is good though and I'd have it over ITV's just for one reason, no adverts! I remember an Alonso vs. Schumacher battle at San Marino right at the end of the race being interrupted with 3 laps to go and being very annoyed about it!

Best of luck in the future, I hope you find your way back onto our screens at the latest next year.


I love the way Gary Lineker opened the envelope and said "I don't believe it!" I was laughing very much.


Congratulations from me also. I go with the majority on this one. I would like to see James with his trousers on fire back in the commentary box as opposed to listening to the vicar... Two classic moments. They reset the computer after Q1 and he suddenly had the Brawns at position 14 and 15 until Brundle dismissed him with a withering comment. Then yesterday, he asked Martin a 2 minute question and full credit to MB for paying attention - I would have forgotten the original question.

No, Mr Legard commentates for radio, inspite of all of us seeing the same pictures and actually I don't think is that much of an F1 fan. Sounds like he has mugged up on the reference books but you may as well put John Motson in there as well.

Lee McKenzie? Try and at least sound interested even if you are not... The only improver I can see so far is Jake who is growing into the role - and (although it will never happen) change Jordan for Gascoyne.

Can't see this lot as it stands getting one BAFTA, let alone three.


Congratulations from Ukraine, James! You deserve it.


Good work. ITV took TV coverage a large step forward for me when taking over in 97 (the obvious complaint aside) and deserved the plaudits at the time. While I felt that the team producing the coverage seemed to get a little complacent in later years and it went downhill overall, it picked up last season for me and this is a well deserved award. I'm more of a fan overall of the BBC's stuff this season (they've stepped up to the plate well on the whole and for me the breadth of coverage is better pre/post show) but other than the Olympics not much came close to what you guys were doing at the end of the last season. Certainly not faultless, but definitely some of the best coverage out there.


Hey James,,, at least you never kept saying,, "and down the hill he goes", "he keeps pushing", and "x from x from x, who is pushing" Also,, i dont recall in all your times in the commentary box that you EVER noted someone doing a fast sector,,,, BEHIND the safety car... JL is a BAD replacement. Sometimes you were a bit LH biased,, but you are in NO way as bad as JL.. Your screaming hen the lights went out got my heart racing,, ( and i`ve been watching f1 since the 70`s) ... JL`s (monotone) " And the lights are off" said in a tone that doesnt sound too interested really kills the best part of the race..

Oh be gentle guys,, my first post on here 🙂


oh forgot to put up my congrats.. Bet MB wishes you were up there instead of the radio pundit 🙂


Don`t get carried away,it was only the result of the race that won the award,also Harry Hill won again,enough said i think.


No disrespect to you James but as already said all 3 Baftas have been when an Englishman has won and Canadian Grand Prix coverage didn't have the press conference so I don't see why ITV are getting awards for the result of a race.


Fantastic news James, well done, and much deserved.

You had us all on the edge of our seats in Brazil - I really miss your enthusiastic coverage.


Congratulations! always fully enjoyed your highly knowledgable, enthusiastic commentary.
Coverage 1997-2006 impeccable, thought the coverage 2007-2008 with the hamilton sole focus was poor and could have been much better as well as being hamilton focussed.
All the best and keep up the excellent work!


Congratulations, James, but..........

I was sorry you weren't going to be commentating for the BBC - until I found this site. If your going to the BBC had meant this site wouldn't have existed I can only say how glad I am that you didn't go there.

I turn to this site regularly and often, to get an up-to-the-minute feel for what's going on behind the scenes - good journalism with a mind of its own. It's individual and interesting and now an established part of the information and comment scene for all we F1 addicts!

Keep the good work going!


Many congratulations James to you and the ITV team! Well deserved! It was great (apart from the adverts).


Congratulations James and the whole ITV F1 team. You and Martin provided fantstic commentary during the race and in fact during the whole season. Very well deserved.


Congrats on the BAFTA. Annoyed that the person who accepted the award only referred to you and Martin as "a few others" who "were away". The award was for the last lap of a truly sporting highlight. Given that the pictures were from the world feed, and NOT from ITV and the commentary was from you and Martin, how could he not have given you the deserved credit. As for "it was was only for a brit" lets remember the favourite was BBC Olympics, and I seem to recall that brits did quite well there, didnt they - one even being knighted!!!


Well done James!!!!

I think everyone at the ITV-F1 team did a fantastic job - I'm sure you are all very proud indeed!


Exactly, they won a bafta there for coverage so bad they were forced to apologise for it afterwards.

That's not to say there aren't races ITV deserved a BAFTA for, or even that the whole year as an average was BAFTA worthy but to give an award for the joke of a coverage they gave to Canada 07 was laughable.

Not that any of that was our host's fault of course.



Thanks for that.

It was Malaysia (the shortened race) I was referring to where there was no forum afterwards.

I understand your point re listening to the radio - i tried that with the sound turned down on the telly, but found the slight delay between the two distracting.


Red button is actually ON Freeview. True for the Bahrain race the extra channel was used for snooker hence no alternative R5Live commentary, you need to put the radio on for that or listen online.

There WAS a red button forum after the race at Bahrain, I watched it. If for some reason your red button does not work then go to channel 301 and/or 302 on freeview.


I only have freeview, so had NO red button (5 live) commentary for the live race this week, due to the marathon and other BBC coverage, which is a shame as I much prefer David and Anthony's commentary to Legard's.

There was also no red button Forum after the Malaysia race, so I for one am feeling a little short changed by the BBC.

PS: Also noticed that both the qualifying and race build ups were cut short by 15 minutes last weekend.


Why shouldn't they be biased to their own drivers? other countries are and from what i've heard, Spain are far worse.
Plus i think it wasn't as bad as people want to believe. I saw plenty of interviews and features with other drivers last year, Nico the pilot, Sebastian in a helicopter , it's just that when you dislike someone it appears worse than it actually is.
I think people who moaned about ITV were incredibly ungrateful. In this country we take F1 coverage for granted, some people don't have any live coverage at all. We didn't even have to pay for ITV coverage.

Congratulations for the award!


Yes, I agree with Steven. I also feel the BBC's coverage has progressed to the next level. And Jonathan Legard is a terrific commentator in his own right.

Having said that, congratulations to James and ITV on the BAFTA award for Brazil 2008. It was a really good call and the coverage deserved an award.


Simon, what on EARTH are you on about??! I'm very very confused! As Hamilton/vettel/glock came into penultimate corner you had Martin saying "Is that Glock, is that Glock going slowly?" before James and Martin went "IT IS" !!! And the whole of what James said as Hamilton climbed the hill and down the pits straight reflected that Hamilton had passed Glock, he had got that 5th place "which is all he needs to do..."

Realising that Glock had not pitted and that he was on dry tyres and that hamilton clinching it or not would require either him to pass vettel or the pair of them to both pass glock was something that a certain Mr Croft on 5 Live miserably failed to do - but James and Martin both did that! I could not believe my ears listening to 5 Live about 30 mins after the race where listeners were complaining about the commentators not realising hamilton had passed glock and there was Eleanor Oldroyd saying "the reason was, none of us knew, we rely on the pictures from FOM which failed to pick it up" . Very poor.

(btw, I am a fan of Crofty and think his commentaries and style is terrific but I was just making the point that he (and Maurice Hamilton and Jason Swales the producer - for not screaming down his ear) messed up big time.)

...and it used to get on my nerves how we had to put up with the BBCs editing attempts at playing around with the words of Crofty and the footage to make it look/sound like he had got it right when he hadn't - on occasions such as sports personality of the year- while all they had to do was give the Allen/Brundle sound track which described the story brilliantly well! (what a shame the bbc wouldnt fork out the money to show us 2 people capable of reading one of the sporting moments in living memory. but there you go..)


@ pbyrne

You should be ashamed of yourself for having the bare faced cheek to add comments like this.

They deserved that BAFTA win, and despite your 'sorry' for being harsh, I wonder how you would react with such unwarrented criticism being thrown at you.

I'd love to see you do the commentators job...


Sorry to rain on your BBC parade, but the red button was faulty this weekend and the Croft/Davidson commentary was lost for Q3 AND half way through the race.

I'm also confused why you think the biggest thing to happen to British motorsport for 10 years should only be given a passing mention. Last year was all about Hamilton (and Massa).

No doubt you'll be complaining that the BBC are being too Button-biased before too long.

And as for "such was the drama it was not a big ask to make it exciting", I'd bet Legard would manage it very easily.

He'd probably run out of things to say and Martin would have to rescue him constantly. Oh wait, that happened all the way through yesterday's GP.


The BBC's coverage has taken F1 to the next level. itv improved it from BBC's 1996 level and now BBC have improved it over itv's 2008 level.
I'm in the minority here in that I love Jonathan's commentary. Authoritative and informing. I prefer Lee over 100 times to Goodman.
I've always said to bring you in to the commentary box as the third voice to do stategy analysis. Mark Hughes doesn't speak sadly. You, Martin and Jonathan would be an impeccable team.

But I personally think it will be criminal if the BBC do not win a BAFTA for their quite outstanding level of coverage. The red button forum especially.

Just let Ted write his notebooks again and I'll be very happy.


Ad breaks had their uses. I could go and put the kettle on / go to the loo etc!


Yeah can all the crazy people give this subscription fee idea a rest please



I too would like to congratulate you and the team. Hopefully we we will hear yoy commentating sooner rather than later!

As for the comment that five live missed the fact that Glock had been pased, FOM Spotters around the circuit admit that they did'nt see it either. In their words " Glock was so far in front that he was'nt considred part of the story" It was only when Glock entered sector 3 andpeople started to look at the timing screens that anyone thought that he might not finish ahead of Hamilton. It's important to get some of the facts out there!

Let James and his team have their day and forget about the rest. Once again, Well Done James!


For god's sake will you lot quit moaning about the ad breaks! How the hell do you suggest ITV should have paid for the coverage without them? Remember each of us pays the BBC £142.50 for a TV License!

Crikey I bet you don't work for free!


Exactly. All three wins were 'events' due to what happened on track and the coverage - which ITV had very little to do with! The footage was provided by the local broadcaster, and Canada '07 wasn't even that good a race. Heck, ITV even pulled the plug on the post-race conference following Hamilton's first win!


who are you? his mum?

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