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John Motson - Winner's Acceptance Speech, Special Award, Virgin TV British Academy Television Awards in 2018

13 May 2018

Winner's acceptance speech by John Motson in the Special Award category

JOHN MOTSON: Thank you.  I thought the ovation I got at Crystal Palace was good, but you've beat it. 

Thank you very much.  I just want to say one thing about this award tonight because obviously it's an anniversary for me, as John kindly said, 50 years at the BBC.

But I don't know how many of you have appreciated, it's also a celebration for British television, because the year I first walked through the doors of Broadcasting House, 1968, was the year that colour TV came to this country.  Give yourselves a round of applause.

Just in case you don't think I have had my facts right, the first FA Cup Final in colour was the following year, 1969.  Or maybe even 1968, I can't remember.

Anyway.  So therefore, I was excused for saying those watching in black and white, Spurs in the yellow shirts, because colour TV had only been in two years, but it didn't get any better.  As I carried on, the gaffes kept coming. It's Arsenal nil, Liverpool 2.  The longer it stays like that, the more you've got to fancy Liverpool to win.

Then they sent me to the World Cup and I called it a truly international event.  Then I commentated on the most iconic team in the world and I said, "These Brazilians are so good they're running around the pitch playing with themselves."

I have watched teams playing from my elevated position for all those years.  I must just say, like everyone else has tonight ‑ and it is pretty lonely up here for me ‑ but I would like to have brought the whole Match of the Day team, really, because as everyone knows, the commentator is only the voice at the end of a very professional and sometimes complicated process.

So, I'm dedicating this to the BBC Sports department, where I have worked for, as you said, 50 years, and been so grateful to have so much professional support behind me.

And to BAFTA, thank you ever so much.  I never saw this coming.