Look up the word “schadenfreude” and you’ll find that the definition states that it means to gain satisfaction or pleasure at someone else’s misfortune. Quite an apt word, given that I’m rather pleased that the BBC has today confirmed that Jonathan Legard’s been ditched from F1 commentary duties this year.
Perhaps if I was in a professional capacity I would go round all slurpy-slurp, saying what a wonderful bloke Legard is, how he’s one of the nicest people to bump into in the paddock on a race weekend. But, the fact of the matter is I’ve never met him, the only time I’ve ventured in an F1 paddock is under the pretence I’ve won a competition by an energy drinks company, and so, my opinion of him comes from having endured his lacklustre commentary.
Kick a man while he’s down, eh? Yeah, okay, I’ll give it a go.
Legard was dreadful in the commentary box. I thought he at least deserved another crack at it, a chance to up his game and make an improvement, but what do you know? He was still woefully inept last year, still saying what he saw and still failing to read a race.
The whole point of a commentator is to both entertain and inform the viewer, both of which Legard appeared to be completely incapable of. Unlike Martin Brundle, who, thanks to Legard’s staccato style was almost always on the back foot and, well, I actually felt sorry for him knowing he had to withstand two hours of clichés and dead air before each and every race.
Somehow, having the life sucked out of him for the past two years hasn’t take its toll on Brundle, for he will now be stepping into Legard’s shoes and taking over the lead commentator gig this season. Joining him will be, er, David Coulthard.
Yeah, David Coulthard.
I see from a brief glance at Twitter and various online forums that the knives are already out for Coulthard before he’s even muttered a word. Give over. I reckon he’ll be oodles better than most are anticipating and the chemistry between the two in the commentary box will be leaps and bounds ahead of what we’ve had to endure recently.
So, no more barrage of useless statistics in an effort to make up for any insight or charisma, no more stock phrases (“there he goes, up the hill, what can he do?”), no more prattling on with a frustrating stream of nothingness.
And doom mongers: give them a chance to settle in. It may just be rather good in the long run. Stop assuming it’ll be a disaster.