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Aussie Jim McGrath on "death row"

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  • #20559
    CrustyPatch
    Participant
    • Total Posts 917

    The skids seem to be under course commentator Jim McGrath
    if a story in the Racing Post today is right.
    It’s dramatic stuff and Jim has likened his plight to being "on death row" and being "sent to the gallows".
    As Jeremy Grayson has mentioned on the meaningless racing phrases thread, four other commentators could also be under threat.
    The Post story is certainly quite shocking. Jim reports that his performances on the microphone for the next six months will be reviewed by a panel responsible for overseeing the commentators’ roster.
    He was shocked to find himself apparently one of five commentators to be having their performances reviewed after six months following an annual review by the Commentator User Group, made up of Racetech, the Racecourse Association, Racing UK, At The Races and SIS. He has "pledged to fight his corner".
    He said: "I have been told that I am under review for six months. They’re basically sending me to the gallows. They want me to sit on death row for six months.
    "I have asked to see the panel. They have refused to see me. I am going to fight it very vigorously. I feel it’s a humiliation. Never at any stage has anybody approached me once with any complaint and, for that reason, I am very taken aback and very upset.
    "It’s a very unsatisfactory state of affairs and I am extremely angry. Nothing has been said until a few days ago when I got a phone call."
    Jim is right to be angry at this shabby treatment but, sadly, by speaking out publicly, he will almost certainly sign his own death warrant. It’s inconceivable that the Post would have run the story without his co-operation, as he is quoted extensively. No doubt the story came about because he was sounding off in the Wolverhampton press room where he was commentating the day before. No doubt he would have been asked whether he was prepared to go on the record.
    It’s not difficult to work out what is afoot, with the news that three other would-be commentators, including Matt Chapman, are being given 15 days each of trials in the new year. It’s not too difficult to work out who else might be under threat. No doubt there will be a clear-out of the older commentators and those deemed to be low-profile, even though they might do a perfectly good job.
    The elite commentators are well known and will be safe.
    Sadly for Jim, he will probably find out that his BBC contract will come under threat if he loses his slots as a racecourse commentator.
    Graham Goode found out to his cost what can happen when you are seen as yesterday’s man. When Simon Holt took over as the main commentator at Channel 4, Goode found his racecourse dates diminishing and both he and Dave Smith got the chop at the end of last year.
    Ian Bartlett must be rubbing his hands in anticipation of getting the BBC top job soon, if Jim gets dropped as a course commentator next year.
    Meanwhile, there’s no danger of Jim ending up on the streets. He’s got his BBC, At The Races and lucrative Daily Telegraph money coming in, no doubt with other sources of income as well, so don’t shed too many tears.
    It seems that, as a racecourse commentator at least, his employers regard him as very much "further back in the field".

    #383411
    Gingertipster
    Participant
    • Total Posts 28423

    Makes you wonder if Lee McKenzie will be allowed back after his Olympic duties. Hope so.

    Value Is Everything
    #383412
    Matron
    Participant
    • Total Posts 6288

    "Ian Bartlett must be rubbing his hands in anticipation of getting the BBC top job soon, if Jim gets dropped as a course commentator next year."

    Please, please – no!

    There are far better around on the circuit.

    Regards
    :cool:

    #383435
    graysonscolumn
    Participant
    • Total Posts 6965

    so don’t shed too many tears.

    Given the nickname of the gentleman involved, crocodile or otherwise.

    gc

    The patron saint of lower-grade fare. A gently critical friend of point-to-pointing. Kindness is a political act.

    #383446
    % MAN
    Participant
    • Total Posts 5104

    Certainly an interesting tactic for Jim to put his head above the parapet, not sure if coming out fighting like that is the wisest course of action.

    The others on this "watch list" are keeping a lower profile which I think is probably the wiser course of action. Others would have a greater cause for grievance than Jim.

    It is certainly an interesting approach by the committee and possibly not before time. As I have previously said I believe there are two, possibly three, who should no longer be on the rosta.

    #383447
    elgransenor1
    Member
    • Total Posts 625

    I do think the likes of mcgrath need a kick up the backside, and something like this might help them in that regard. clearly some of these ageing commentators have been on the gravy train far too long, and have lapsed into complacency.

    #383452
    CrustyPatch
    Participant
    • Total Posts 917

    Certainly an interesting tactic for Jim to put his head above the parapet, not sure if coming out fighting like that is the wisest course of action.
    The others on this "watch list" are keeping a lower profile which I think is probably the wiser course of action. Others would have a greater cause for grievance than Jim.
    It is certainly an interesting approach by the committee and possibly not before time. As I have previously said I believe there are two, possibly three, who should no longer be on the rosta.

    I’m sure it will end in tears for Jim, crocodile or otherwise. He’ll be a marked man now, no matter how much effort he puts in over the next six months. The trouble is, he’s on a hiding to nothing. He’s obviously seen the writing on the wall so probably thinks he’s got nothing to lose. I’m sure that’s right, although it won’t help him the fact that no employer takes kindly to being slagged off in public.
    It’s a case of history repeating itself because when Doug Fraser got the boot from the commentary rota years ago, apparently because his nasal Scottish accent was unpopular, Jim was one of those who came out publicly in his support and, as perhaps the top commentator at the time, said how ridiculous it was and how good and accurate Fraser was.
    Needless to say, Fraser still got dropped but later rejoined the rota when doing his former bosses a good turn and stepping in to the breach at a Scottish course when the scheduled duty commentator did not turn up. I seem to remember his return also coincided with John Budden having to retire, creating more opportunities up north.
    Perhaps Jim secretly hopes there might be a campaign to save him if he gets the boot.
    It’s amazing how fashions change. When he first began commentating, Jim was regarded as a breath of fresh air. Now it seems as though he is expendible.
    He will know that his age, as one of the older commentators, will go against him as well. I can’t think of any of the current team who deserve to get the push, even those "out deeper on the track" or "scraping paint over the inside" (they all have their strengths and fans).
    I hope my previous pessimism about Iain Mackenzie and Tommo surviving, which I had thought to be ill-founded when I spotted that they were both on the January allocations list, doesn’t turn out to be well founded after all.
    It’s certainly a brutal business, when you consider the number of people who have got the chop in the last few years.

    #383458
    KINGFISHER
    Member
    • Total Posts 1508

    Thommo is to commentating,what Kim Jong-il was to human rights! Bloody murder!

    #383460
    JJMSports
    Participant
    • Total Posts 2033

    "Ian Bartlett must be rubbing his hands in anticipation of getting the BBC top job soon, if Jim gets dropped as a course commentator next year."

    Please, please – no!

    There are far better around on the circuit.

    Regards
    :cool:

    Jim is bad, Barty is far, far worse.

    #383476
    CrustyPatch
    Participant
    • Total Posts 917

    "Ian Bartlett must be rubbing his hands in anticipation of getting the BBC top job soon, if Jim gets dropped as a course commentator next year."
    Please, please – no!
    There are far better around on the circuit.

    Jim is bad, Barty is far, far worse.

    I’m surprised at the criticism Ian Bartlett is getting, notwithstanding his French race cock-up and his liking for saying "next in the field" in the style of Jim McGrath.
    A lot of people have said in the past he should have the top BBC job instead of Jim McGrath.
    But he will undoubtedly get the job eventually because he is the heir apparent and not least because the BBC likes promoting from within, such as when Lee McKenzie took over from Peter Bromley for the radio top job after years as the number two (only for him to mess up his chance and leave after falling out with them).
    Darren Owen wouldn’t get the top BBC job despite being, I believe, the best of the Grand National commentators.
    I suppose there’s a chance John Hunt might transfer from radio to TV.
    There’s not a chance Lee will get the chop from the racecourse team. He’s too popular.
    I suppose Jim has become a bit cliche-ridden and prone to commentating by numbers, with the same phrases like "further back in the field" regularly appearing. I would be sorry to see him go in such circumstances and acrimony, though. The omens aren’t promising, however.
    I wonder if the others under threat will be publicly revealed.

    #383479
    Cav
    Participant
    • Total Posts 4823

    "Ian Bartlett must be rubbing his hands in anticipation of getting the BBC top job soon, if Jim gets dropped as a course commentator next year."

    Please, please – no!

    There are far better around on the circuit.

    Agreed!

    No doubt he’s fast and accurate, but he simply hasn’t the voice for it imo.

    #383494
    DaveMonk
    Member
    • Total Posts 153

    "Ian Bartlett must be rubbing his hands in anticipation of getting the BBC top job soon, if Jim gets dropped as a course commentator next year."

    Please, please – no!

    There are far better around on the circuit.

    Regards
    :cool:

    Even if he does get booted off the course roster, I think there is a very slim chance the BBC will dispose of him. Jobs are for life at the BBC and even "when" or "if" you are pushed to one side, they will find something for you to do. Take John Hanmer. Still used behind the scenes, 8 years after his last commentary. Hanmers course commitments had dried up before he continued calling the Aintree GN meeting, swinton hurdle meeting and the Peter Marsh meeting.

    I wouldnt with the ever decreasing dwindling coverage that the BBC puts out, call it a "Top Job" in racing anymore. Im sure a couple of the other BBC racing part timers will be given a back seat before JMc

    Dave

    #383496
    MarkTT
    Participant
    • Total Posts 2802

    Thommo is to commentating,what Kim Jong-il was to human rights! Bloody murder!

    " They’re not messing about, and going over the first it’s the favourite with the sixteen times champ, AP, onboard …

    And that’s how they finished. Lots more to come and we’ll be back in a few minutes…with the big race…..the King George…..right after this. Stay with us "

    He’s diabolical.

    #383501
    okjoe57
    Participant
    • Total Posts 189

    Aussie Jim is a class act, love the guy’s work. This ‘investigation’ is madness.

    #383502
    % MAN
    Participant
    • Total Posts 5104

    I wonder if the others under threat will be publicly revealed.

    Why should they be – if you were under review in your job would you want everyone to know about it or for it to be announced publicly?

    #383503
    CrustyPatch
    Participant
    • Total Posts 917

    I wonder if the others under threat will be publicly revealed.

    Why should they be – if you were under review in your job would you want everyone to know about it or for it to be announced publicly?

    Obviously the employers themselves won’t reveal it. That’s not what I meant, as should have been obvious from the way I expressed it through the word "revealed" not "announced".
    What I meant was that it would be interesting for observers of the situation, such as this forum, to find out somehow and for the details to become public.
    The commentators are in the public eye, whether they like it or not, unlike private employees, and lots of things find their way into the public arena, such as via newspapers and internet forums, through inside information, gossip and leaks.
    It would be fascinating to know, just for interest. No press release is expected, obviously. These things have a habit of finding their way into the public domain. Wouldn’t surprise me if the Racing Post doesn’t publish more.

    #383506
    DaveMonk
    Member
    • Total Posts 153

    According to another forum someone has contacted the BBC. One of the other to be monitored is Darren Owen. This could be total codswallop of course!!

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