Page last updated at 08:11 GMT, Friday, 18 April 2008 09:11 UK

'Jester' Ian Wright attacks BBC

Ian Wright
Wright co-presents an afternoon show on TalkSport radio

Footballer turned TV pundit Ian Wright has said he no longer wishes to work at the BBC, claiming he was made "a comedy jester" by the corporation.

The former England and Arsenal striker said fans could not relate to the BBC's coverage or its presenters.

"I don't know how long young people are going to want to sit down and watch that same old 'jacket, shirt and tie' format," he told Broadcast magazine.

"That's why I've said to them I don't want to do the England games any more."

A spokesman for the BBC said Wright was on a freelance contract and that it wished him well.

Wright was most often employed for coverage of England matches and FA Cup ties, the rights to which switch to ITV from August.

'Run-of-the-mill'

Wright, who will soon be seen hosting Gladiators on Sky One with Kirsty Gallacher, began presenting after he retired from football in 2000.

He joined the BBC in 2001, appearing on programmes including Match of the Day.

According to Broadcast, though, the 44-year-old believes he was "just there as a comedy jester to break the ice with Alan Shearer and Alan Hansen," whom he accused of doing "run-of-the-mill things".

"I can't do that anymore," he is quoted as saying. "People want something different."




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