One of the most famous commentators in the history of TV has died.
For two generations David Coleman was witty, urbane, good natured, and polite. He was one of the first BBC presenters in any field to be truly relaxed in front of the camera, giving him a unique appeal and setting a tone for broadcasting worldwide. He was also an integral part of my childhood, and as is too often the case nowadays, his passing is a pressing reminder that none of us is getting any younger.
He was most famous for his frequent verbal gaffes, which made as much perfect sense as they did perfect nonsense. The satirical magazine Private Eye christened them “Colemanballs” – a term he is said to have enjoyed – and the column runs to this day.
Enjoy remembering some of the best:
“That’s the fastest time ever run – but it’s not as fast as the world record.”
“A truly international field, no Britons involved.”
“The Republic of China – back in the Olympic Games for the first time.”
“Don’t tell those coming in the final result of that fantastic match, but let’s just have another look at Italy’s winning goal.”
“He’s 31 this year – last year he was 30.”
“He just can’t believe what’s not happening to him.”
“In a moment we hope to see the pole vault over the satellite.”
“He is accelerating all the time. The last lap was run in 64 seconds and the one before that in 62.”
“It’s gold or nothing … and it’s nothing. He comes away with the silver medal.”
“There is Brendan Foster, by himself with 20,000 people.”
“Forest have now lost six matches without winning.”
“The front wheel crosses the finish line, closely followed by the back wheel.”
“And here’s Moses Kiptanui – the 19-year-old Kenyan who turned 20 a few weeks ago.”
“If that had gone in, it would have been a goal.”
“This evening is a very different evening from the morning we had this morning.”
“I think there is no doubt, she’ll probably qualify for the final.”
“Nobody has ever won the title twice before. He (Roger Black) has already done that.”
“Both of the Villa scorers – Withe and Mortimer – were born in Liverpool as was the Villa manager Ron Saunders who was born in Birkenhead.”
“And the line-up for the final of the women’s 400 metres hurdles includes three Russians, two East Germans, a Pole, a Swede and a Frenchman.”
“We estimate, and this isn’t an estimation, that Greta Waltz is 80 seconds behind.”
He will be sadly missed.