It’s six months since my last update, which is clearly a bit shameful and also an indication of how mercifully quickly this tedious year is passing.
I’ve actually been reasonably busy for most of those six months. June and July were spent working mainly on the end of the Football League season for Quest at IMG. August and September were quieter than normal, but without a summer holiday this year, far too complicated and risky! Since then, things have picked up with Football League, Premier League, Serie A and UEFA Nations League bookings at IMG, my usual Europa League highlights work at Gravity Media and Champions League shows at BT Sport.
I’m obviously very grateful that this is the case, and also that elite sport has continued during this strange “Lockdown 2.0” that we’re currently enduring. Of course, the lack of crowds at sporting events means more of them on TV, which is also good for the likes of me. It isn’t for the product though. Sport without fans makes no sense really, and the games I’m watching lack the intensity and sense of occasion that’s a major part of the appeal. And at least in football, no one can defend properly! More than anything, I miss going to games as a supporter myself. News of a vaccine is encouraging, but it can’t come soon enough.
The next couple of months looks like being as busy as usual at this time of year, which is good news of course. However, like almost everyone else, I’ll be happy when they’re over and we can turn the page on 2020. This year is going to get a grim review from history and it deserves it!
I started the new year in reasonably familiar fashion, dividing my time between Football – with EFL Highlights, Premier League Review and Serie A Highlights at IMG, and Rugby – with Premiership and European highlights for Channel 5, BT Sport and News UK.
For family reasons, I decided that I wouldn’t make myself available for a trip to this summer’s Euro finals with HBS, but was hoping to pick up some UK-based work on the tournament, as well as my usual bookings on County Cricket. However, my vague plans – and everyone else’s – then fell foul of Covid-19…
In March, before the first lockdown started, I contracted the virus. At least, I think I did, as I’ve not had a test to confirm it. However, I certainly felt more ill than I can remember before, lost my taste of sense and smell and couldn’t really function for about 3 weeks. So, “I had Coronavirus” is the story I’m sticking to!
Of course, I didn’t work during that time…well, actually I did one voiceover job from home, which took 3 hours when it should have taken 30 minutes and made me realise that even I wasn’t that desperate to keep busy. Which was just as well, because there was nothing doing for about 3 months after that.
Thankfully, my family wasn’t seriously affected, and we managed to get through April and May without too much drama or anxiety. I accepted the work (or no work) situation for what it was and kept myself busy. Of course, it was a bit harder to bear how freelancers like me fell through the cracks in the Government’s support.
Autumn is traditionally my busiest time of the year and 2019 was no different. I worked on BT Sport’s Champions League highlights shows every 2 (or 3) weeks, provided voiceover for UEFA’s Europa League coverage at Input Media and also worked on my now regular gig providing scripts and voiceovers for preview features on the European qualifiers at IMG.
An extra booking I really enjoyed in October was voicing IMG’s Rugby World Cup Preview Show for the governing body. This was a daily news and features show, produced by Danny Prior and his team. Despite the tight schedule it was a really good product, although all I did was tidy up the script and add the VO so I can’t claim much credit. Working on it was a decent consolation for not being in Japan!
As well as all that, I worked as a commentator and reporter on Premiership rugby for BT Sport, Channel 5 and News UK. I also did a little VO for ITV and even less basketball commentary for IMG.
I spent a month in Paris at the Women’s World Cup for HBS. I was producing, scripting and voicing preview features, so my knowledge of the teams and players grew reasonably quickly.
The tournament was clearly a major breakthrough for the women’s game, but perhaps the biggest compliment I can pay was that it felt no different to any other major competition I’ve worked on. For instance, I saw two games at Parc des Princes – South Africa v China, which was terrible, and Scotland v Argentina, which was dramatic, controversial and extremely entertaining. So, a mixed bag – just like a men’s World Cup.
Here’s an edit of some of the features I produced. It was good to be involved with the whole process, rather than just adding the voice at the end.