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Thursday, 23 August, 2001, 10:30 GMT 11:30 UK
The Premiership: Football or brawl?
The world of Saturday evening variety shows and quiet meal times may have been lost forever

Premiership football has landed in peak time, sparking a ratings battle between ITV's new highlights show and the more familiar quizzes and Lottery shows of the BBC.

Families across the land are being forced to choose, and fights for the remote control are reported to have been fierce.

How have the new Saturday evening line-ups affected your house? Were there arguments and recriminations? Or was Saturday night alright - and TV free.


This Talking Point has now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

It is obvious why ITV had more viewers! A lot of European viewers cannot receive this particular channel as they can the BBC! And we will have a long wait. No way ITV will give the rights away, they'd rather axe Corrie if money is short. Bring on the 100 million bid!
Denise Christiaans, Netherlands


Has nobody got anything better to do on a Saturday night?

Matthew, England
Has nobody got anything better to do on a Saturday night anyway? The arrival of The Premiership on Saturdays doesn't change the fact that weekend TV is rubbish!
Matthew, England

It's driving me to drink! Saturday night TV has been awful for months now - so I have to go out instead. The amount of sport on TV is always increasing, does that mean that people like me that don't watch any sport will get a discount on their TV license to account for all the hours of programming that they can't watch because sport is on all the channels?
TC, UK

The ITV Premiership is absolutely rubbish - Saturdays and Mondays. Far too much talking and not enough football action. The analysis by "Tel" and "Ally" was awful - concerned more with style than substance. Bring back Gary and the boys!
Jay Horeesorun, England


Wherever you turn there is football on TV

F Webb, UK
I hate football. Wherever you turn there is football on TV. It even gets put on instead of live Formula 1 (which only happens 17 times a year). There are hundreds of league matches a month! Personally I steer well clear of all football, and in fact I was enjoying a nice night in with my girlfriend last Saturday night.
F Webb, UK

Having the football on at 7 in the evening is a good thing; Saturday evening TV is trashy and tabloid-like anyway so it's not like anything is being lost here. However I think that ITV's presentation is dire, with waxy presenters and a loss of the class that MOTD used to have.
Matt, UK

I have never watched a Premiership match in my life and probably never will. It bores me senseless to watch a bunch of overpaid actors kick a ball around. I just wish that TV catered more for people like me, who would like to see something other than non-stop sport.
John B, UK


Go and do something less boring instead

Bob McLaughlin, UK
It doesn't matter what side you put on. Both stations produce such utter tosh on Saturdays. On one side, bits of football matches that Sky has all the rights for, and on the other brain-numbing dross to fill in time until the lottery numbers are drawn. Turn the TV off, go outside and to quote an old TV show, go and do something less boring instead.
Bob McLaughlin, UK

It's a great time slot, it's just a shame they hardly show any football. Not a patch on MOTD, but on at a better time and surely its time to ditch Des, his quips would be better replaced with actual football.
Jay, Wales

The new show is a success for me, my husband and our son. We all love football and the 7 p.m. slot is ideal (most people have videos so can still watch at 10.00 p.m. plus). Des and Co. make great presenters, the football can speak for itself but oh dear those adverts -its a case of reach for the mute button. It was never like this on the BBC!
Janice, West Sussex, England

Great, being able to watch the footy before heading out. Makes conversation a lot easier for a Saturday night,
Kenny, UK

Ah, the joys of football. I think the only other things that divide people so much are religion, sex and politics! Some people will like it, others will loathe it - but the fact is that you have at least four other channels to choose from if you don't like football.

However, the programme being shown at that time is totally unfair on "real" fans. What chance did Arsenal fans (playing at Middlesborough) have of getting back in time?
Ford, England

I am an avid footie supporter but after only half the new show on ITV, I had to turn it off - absolute rubbish, ITV should give it back to the BBC for MOTD at 10.30pm.
Christopher Frear, England

It just ain't the same, even Des seems different! ITV with their glitzy approach - and all the hype for hours before - was tiring to watch. BBC's coverage was spot on, classy, simple and no adverts!
Peter Sparks, London

Blind Date vs Football? Come on! Give me Des "the dish" Lynham any day of the week!
Ana Rodriguez, UK


This a time for light entertainment not football

Katie, England
Although MOTD was on a little too late, the new ITV show has taken it to the other extreme! I usually work on a Saturday, and if I am not working, I am watching my local team which, either way, means I am not in at 7 o'clock. I also live in a house full of sport haters, and so even if I was in at 7, I couldn't have watched it anyway! This time is a time for light entertainment, for family shows; not, as much as I hate to say it, football. If ITV wanted an earlier time than MOTD, they could have chosen 9/9.30ish instead. They couldn't have been that confident anyway; the amount of advertising there was in the build up must have cost more in money than the amount of viewers they eventually got!
Katie, England

I wouldn't even consider switching my TV on at weekends. If it is a choice between sport and game-shows/ video-clip programmes/ shows with people who want to be famous, then I'd rather stare at the wall than the TV.
Fay, UK

Our TV is broken so, whether it was 7.00pm or 11.45pm, it was DIY for me last weekend.
Jaysson Palmer, London


At last there's something decent to watch on a Saturday night

Amanda, UK
To Julie Casey: not every woman hates football - I happen to love it. At last there's something decent to watch on a Saturday night rather than the brain-numbing tripe that's normally on. I had my doubts about whether ITV would do football justice but I was pleasantly surprised by 'The Premiership'. MOTD never seemed to have a fixed slot (which was a shame) and so ITV's decision to show football highlights on prime time TV is a welcome change. As for all these people whinging about it, all I can suggest is that they watch one of the four other channels or even (God forbid) switch the TV off and do something else!
Amanda, UK

I am an avid Liverpool supporter and did have a ticket for the match on Saturday. Luckily it was a home match, so I was back in time to see The Premiership - but I bet no West Ham supporters at the match made it in time! What a ridiculous time to screen it - when most fans will be stuck on a motorway somewhere, dying to see the replays and other goals! Aside from that, I thought the coverage was appalling. The Liverpool match was meant to be a featured game - yet hardly any of the incidents were shown. The commentary was poor - sorry, Terry and Ally, but you are no match for the MOTD team. The coverage was lack-lustre and I can't wait for the day when the BBC resume MOTD!
Helena, Wales

I am pleased that ITV are so poor, as one day this generation of football administrators will realise that, whilst money talks, it can't buy class, and the ITV show was tacky junk whereas MOTD was a class act. If you don't like football that's great, as 90% of schedule time is non-football. I find if I don't like a programme I tend to follow a strict set of instructions - 1. Turn TV off; 2. Find something more interesting to do (not hard most of the time!)
Kevin Bailey, England


What a stupid time to show football

Chris Cox, England
7pm on a Saturday - what a stupid time to show football. There is too much happening at 7pm on a Saturday for me to be able to sit and watch football and by 11:45pm, when the re-run was shown, I was asleep. The BBC scheduling of Match of the Day, whilst not perfect, was more workable. I could sit down in peace with the kids in bed on Saturday night and my 7-year-old used to get himself up early on Sunday to watch the repeat. ITV need to re-think this one. 10pm on Saturday night and 8am on Sunday - that's where your viewing audience is - not in a prime time slot where you are forcing a lot of non-football viewers into a simple choice - press number 3!
Chris Cox, England

I'd like to know where "all this football on television" is that people refer to. It's certainly not on terrestrial TV! If they are referring to Satellite or cable, then surely they have enough other options of programmes to watch with all those channels. Also, to people who say Saturday night is NOT for football, I say why not? Saturday night is for whatever the TV chiefs decide it is for. If you don't like what's on, why don't you actually go and do something interesting with your life instead of moaning all the time.
Kevin, UK

God, I'm really surprised how many people think this was good television. We've had 'light entertainment' now try 'light sport'. It was without a doubt the most shoddily put together, rag bag bunch of beer mat ideas shown at an idiotic time (7.00pm is so early that the producers and editors of the highlights packages are clearly doing it on the hoof - and it shows) and presented with a total lack of passion, insight or interest. Utterly shambolic. The thought that I will have to endure this rubbish for the next three years just makes me want to weep.
Matt, Uk


Hopefully ITV will learn from MOTD and maybe get Alan Hansen in too

Orac, UK
Although ITV's football coverage should have contained more highlights, one can only welcome the death of (extremely) 'light entertainment'. Football gets very little airtime compared to badly acted soaps such as Eastenders etc, so the move to 7pm should be hailed. Hopefully ITV will learn from MOTD and maybe get Alan Hansen in too.
Orac, UK

Yet again, it's males who rule. It's obvious that they can now watch the football while they are going out to the pub, discuss it all night with the other bar room managers and then roll home and maybe watch more of the same before going to bed and dreaming about it. God help us women
Julie Casey, UK

It's clear ITV are desperate for advertising revenue hence the focus on football. It is not the 'national sport', and gets a lot of exposure over the weekend in any event. For me Saturday night meant watching one of the many good digital channels (non-football), or something else (non-football).
Clive Parfitt, England

Excellent news that footie is back on Saturday night TV, maybe it's time to come home! Since being in the States I have been able to watch far more English Premiership than I could ever watch at home. The time difference is cool though as get up late Saturday and Sunday morning after night on town and the footie is there waiting for us at 11am!
Steve Murphy, MN, USA


Keep it for Saturday afternoons and let the family enjoy their weekend evenings together

Keith Simpson, UK
Doesn't it dawn on television managers that they are there to serve the whole community and that there are a huge number of viewers who absolutely loath the stupid, overpaid, overblown and overhyped game of football? Keep it for Saturday afternoons and let the family enjoy their weekend evenings together. ITV can keep it. We certainly won't be tuning in on Saturdays again. Who wants to watch yobs fighting on TV (on and off the pitch) anyway?
Keith Simpson, UK

Living in Hong Kong means this was not a problem. Live Premier League football was screened at 9:00pm to 2:00am. However as a Welshman any programme containing the ignorant racist Anne Robinson would have lost regardless what was on the other channels.
Stuart Dawson, Hong Kong

The BBC may have lost the rights to Saturday night soccer but this is certainly not a disadvantage from where I'm standing. I can't stand football and now that the soccer action has moved to my least favourite channel (ITV - what else?), I'll be looking forward to great Saturday night comedy, drama and film. Don't disappoint me BBC!
Leon, UK


Great! MOTD was always on too late for our family to watch

Diane Childs, England
Great! MOTD was always on too late for our family to watch. The usual stuff that's on is rubbish.
Diane Childs, England

Me and my children, Rachel (9) and Andrew (7), watched the Premiership. There was no argument about it as we were not keen to turn elsewhere. 7pm on Saturdays is now a firm booking in our diary.
David Mowll, UK

Has ITV lost the plot? They might as well broadcast the test card against whatever the Beeb has to offer. Saturday night family viewing is NOT football! It's been on all day, giving non football fans only BBC2 for choice of non sport. Don't sacrifice Saturday night as well.
Ali Ratcliffe, UK

There was no argument in our house. Firstly, my wife and I both enjoy watching football, and secondly, the prospect of artificially ill-tempered quiz shows, dumbed down even further by adding elements of big brother and its trashy genre-mates would have been enough on its own to send us off to other viewing.
Duncan, UK

I watch football during the day and do not get home until about nine and therefore missed the program. Stupid time to show it as I must not be the only one in this situation.
Tony Downs, England


ITV's move definitely should be given the red card

MDS, Rutland, UK
There's more than enough football on television without it pinching Saturday night as well. ITV's move definitely should be given the red card.
MDS, Rutland, UK

I only caught the late night broadcast and this is a genius idea if you've gone out around seven, plus it doesn't get in the way of I Love 19-whenever on BBC2. I can't afford Sky so it's the next best thing. The BBC will just have to come back with a good Autumn line-up.
Kenneth Henry, London UK

There are two phrases that send a chill down my spine, a) I will have to drill that tooth without anaesthetic and b) the soccer season has started. So, no arguments in my house: motorsport and golf, with Yorkshire for the Championship and more barbecues and chilled wine. Bliss.
Bob Gardiner, England

See also:

19 Aug 01 | TV and Radio
Weakest Link trounces Premiership


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