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Last Updated: Saturday, 29 December 2007, 00:06 GMT
Profile: Des Lynam
Des Lynam in 1997
Lynam was one of the faces of sport on the BBC for two decades

Former sports presenter Des Lynam has been awarded an OBE in the New Year Honours list.

"This has been a splendid surprise and I feel truly privileged," Lyam said of the honour.

Lynam, 65, fronted sports programmes such as Match of the Day and Grandstand on the BBC for more than 20 years until he defected to ITV in 1999.

He began as a radio presenter in Sussex in the 1970s after quitting a job selling insurance.

He left ITV in 2004, and since then he has hosted The World's Greatest Sporting Legend for Sky One and BBC One's coverage of the 60th anniversary of VE Day.

He has also hosted a talk show on BBC Radio Five Live.

Lifetime achievement

Four years ago the Royal Television Society gave Lynam its lifetime achievement award and he has twice won Bafta's Richard Dimbleby Award for his contribution to factual television.

And he named his autobiography after an endearing remark he made while introducing an important daytime football match during the World Cup in 1998.

"Good afternoon," he said, raising an eyebrow slightly.

Carol Vorderman and Des Lynam
Lyman stepped down as host of Countdown in December 2006
"Shouldn't you be at work?"

In late 2006, Lynam announced that he was stepping down as host of Channel 4's Countdown quiz show.

Lyman had taken on the role in October 2005 after the sudden death of long-time host Richard Whiteley.

Together with co-star Carol Vorderman, Whiteley had been the face of the words and numbers game for 23 years.

Lynam said in 2005 that Channel 4 had approached him "out of the blue".

"I was flattered and surprised to be asked to present Countdown - a show of which I have always been a fan," he said.

In stepping down from the job, Lynam said the long commute to the tapings in Leeds from his home in West Sussex was taking its toll.

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