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Page last updated at 23:25 GMT, Thursday, 22 December 2011

BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2011 as it happened

LIVE TEXT COMMENTARY (all times GMT)

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By David Ornstein
BBC Sport at MediaCityUK, Salford

2310: Well that's it for another year. Congratulations to the world's best sprint cyclist MARK CAVENDISH - 2011 BBC SPORTS PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR and all the other award winners. From the BBC Philharmonic studio at MediaCityUK, goodnight and Merry Christmas.

2308: A giggle to finish us off as Ennis apologises for "pictures of me sweating" adorning the country's billboards in the build-up to the 2012 London Olympics. We'll forgive you, Jess.

Jessica Ennis
2258: Last but certainly not least, Jess Ennis comes into chat. "2011 has been a year of highs and lows," she says. "I started off really well with my indoor season. I got myself back in good shape and then had that slight disappointment of not being able to hold onto my title in Daegu. After the javelin I asked my coach what I needed to do to get those 140 points back. Going into the 800m it had to be a miracle for me to win the gold. I ran as hard as I could and gave it my everything, but it was a huge disappointment. Right now I'm doing a lot of conditioning, trying to polish off the individual events and making sure I'm in great shape for next year. Having missed Beijing and not being part of that Olympics, and now being part of our Olympics and being one of the faces, it's a real honour."

Luke Donald
LUKE DONALD: "The Race to Dubai was stressful, but I had a good nervous energy. It was nice to wrap up the year that way. I was very excited just to be nominated, just to be here. I made the trip from Chicago last night to be here. British fans have been so good to me. Rory and Darren have had such good years as well. Those glasses are a different look for Rory! We've come to expect the hair. But he's got an important girlfriend now and he's probably trying to look a little more mature! I think he carries it off. To be consistent you have to be firing on all parts of your game. I had a couple of lean years in '07 and '08. This year I've stepped it up and hit more fairways, hit more greens, and just upped my consistency. You don't need to hit it hard, you just have to play your strokes."

SPOTY 2011 nominee Amir Khan on Twitter: "Well done to the winners of the 2011 Sports Personality. It was an amazing evening, we all loved it. Also happy they had it in Manchester."

Twitter
jamiephill on Twitter: "After all the talk over who should or shouldn't have been on shortlist, there's no doubt the right person won SPOTY tonight. Cav the right choice."

2253: World number one golfer Luke Donald arrives on the Winners Hour sofa to strains of "LUUUUKE" from the enthralled audience.

Mark Cavendish
MARK CAVENDISH: "It's incredible. It's humbling. Thank you. I'm never shaken and never lost for words. I'm never out of control of a situation. That speech was massive, and quite daunting. Holding that trophy, I was thinking it was an honour to stand alongside those other people. I remember watching SPOTY as a kid, but to be honest I wasn't that sporty growing up! I was just a nerd really. I stopped being a nerd when I got a bike! But don't wear a cycling cap indoors or you'll look like a moron. When I was 11 I got a good bike for my birthday and I started winning straightaway. I started winning divisions in the north-west, and then won in the British championships and then started to win in Europe. I was winning by such margins I realised that I was quite good."

2243: That final statement brings rowdy cheers and yells of, "come on Mo!!!" The noise escalates somewhat when he's joined on the sofa by a certain Mark Cavendish. Another standing ovation. Mo tells Cav, "you looked massive on TV but you're actually really small." They exchange pleasantries. "I don't know how you cycle so fast", "I don't know how you run so far", that sort of thing. Such a good atmosphere here in the Philharmonic. John asks Cav if he'll be celebrating with a beer... "I don't drink, but tonight's an exception!".

Mo Farah
MO FARAH: "To finish third is amazing. As a youngster I watched this. To sit next to such legends was amazing. I'd love to get Sir Steve Redgrave's autograph! The seven days after losing the 10,000m in Daegu were really tough. I thought I had it and then it was taken away from me like that. I could hear the crowd get louder and louder and I could hear his footsteps coming through. I tried to dig in but there was nothing I could do. At the start for the 5000m I was so determined. I wanted it, I didn't want to finish second again. When I won it I don't know what I did! I genuinely do enjoy running races. On the track I feel relief. I go out there and do what I do. The Olympics is where it's at, and we've got it right on our doorstep. You've gotta win it, haven't you?"

2235: Next up here in the Philharmonic is Mo Farah and, I must say, sitting 20ft away from him is an inspirational experience - the guy just oozes energy, excitement, positivity. Inverdale asks him if he's disappointed to finish third...

Text in your views on 81111 (UK)
Gerry Barnard, Bournemouth, via text on 81111: "The emotion and beauty that sport brings to us is wonderfully captured tonight. Some of the clips are like watching an eagle soaring over Manchester. Great moments."

Sir Steve Redgrave accepts his award
2230: Here's Sir Steve Redgrave... "The most traumatic Olympic medal win was in Barcelona. I'd started rowing with Matt Pinsent the year before. I came down with a stomach bug and was rushing to the toilet for 17 weeks prior to the Games. The two of us prepared for the last couple of weeks and we bounced back. I'm immensely proud of founding Sports Relief. Throwing those ideas around in the first place was great, and it's getting stronger and stronger. Now I'm a trustee of Comic Relief. I was blown away by the standing ovation. I always wanted to compete at a home Games. I think 2012 will be very special. I was very much involved in the bid process. I actually went into the swimming venue a few weeks ago and I was blown away with the stadium. After Beijing people said we wouldn't be able to compete. We have. The atmosphere in the stadium is amazing when there's no-one in there! If the home nation performs well it'll add to it. We've had a fantastic 2001 but 2012 will be even stronger and the Olympics will be the highlight of it."

Twitter
Everton FC captain Phil Neville on Twitter: "Enjoyed SPOTY. I thought @McIlroyRory was unlucky not to get recognised!"

2223: Swanny can go for his toilet break now because someone a little more important is waiting at the side of the stage... SIR STEVE REDGRAVE. Every member of the 200-strong audience is on their feet. Lump-in-the-throat time.

SWANN: "Flower and Strauss together forms one of those partnerships that does work and does click. I'm so glad Andy Flower won that award. The music and the lights and everything, as a kid you love watching this programme."

JAMES ANDERSON: "We've had a great year. Beating India 4-0 in England and taking over their mantle as the best Test team in the world was great for me."

STUART BROAD: "My favourite memory of the year was the Edgbaston Test where we bowled India out on the first day before tea, and then Trotty scored 300 or whatever. Having your feet up as a bowler is great!

2218: In come the England cricket team - the lot of them - and Graeme Swann's first words? "We've been sat in there for two hours, I'm bursting for the loo!" Classic Swanny.

2215: TV goes off air but we're not going anywhere. Oh no. Switch to the Red Button for 'Winners Hour'. For those of you just joining us, a 5 live panel of John Inverdale, Clare Balding, Michael Vaughan and Matt Dawson have been on air for the last three hours in front of an enthralled audience here in the Philharmonic studio. Look carefully and you might pick out a bedraggled journalist on a laptop beside the crowd. Yep, that's me.

2213: And that, my friends, was a speech. WOW. From the heart. Emotion. Nerves. Pride. Joy. WHAT. A MOMENT.

Mark Cavendish
MARK CAVENDISH: "I'm absolutely speechless, really. A few of my team-mates are here and they'll say that's a rare thing! Without these guys this wouldn't be close to possible. I'd like to thank them, everyone who supports me, my girlfriend and her little bump. Just even to be nominated in the top 10 this year in such an incredible year in British sport, that we can produce so many champions from such a small place, I really am lost for words. Thank you to everyone at home who has voted. This is a landmark in cycling, and I take this on behalf of cycling. For cycling to be recognised in a non-Olympic year, a few years ago would be unheard of, yet it's happened. Now I see so many people out riding bikes, commuting to work or doing it as a hobby, they can see what it's like to ride. We're so great as a country in sport because we put so much in and you see the returns. Thank you everyone, thank you. It's an honour."

2208: Cav holding back the tears. Deep breaths.

Breaking news
BBC SPORTS PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR 2011: MARK CAVENDISH

SPORTS PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR RUNNER-UP: DARREN CLARKE

SPORTS PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR THIRD PLACE: MO FARAH

2202: The votes have been counted and independently verified. It's show time...

Sir Steve Redgrave
SIR STEVE REDGRAVE: "I never thought I would be here again. Eleven years ago when I received BBC Sports Personality of the Year I thought that was the last time I was going to receive any awards. Without these people around me on the stage none of this would ever happen. Without family and friends I would never have been able to achieve the sort of things I managed in the sport."

2158: Before the celebration comes the sorrow. Belgian choir Scala and Kolacny Brothers perform Yellow as the obituaries are played out to the auditorium. Rest in peace.

Twitter
mark__heath on Twitter: "If I were Sir Steve Redgrave, I'd have walked in to get that award backwards doing a rowing motion. Regardless, legend."

2155: And here's HRH Princess Royal... "Steve Redgrave does everything the hard way. It really is a lifetime of achievement. It's hard to believe the first time I met him he was the quiet, unassuming one. Frankly we wouldn't have done as well in our Olympic bid if it wasn't for Sir Steve. His fundraising activities have continued, not only with his own foundation but charities up and down the country I hope this is a lifetime achievement award - so far!"

BBC Radio 5 Live
2151: As nominations for the 2011 BBC Sports Personality of the Year award have closed, the 5 live panel here in the Philharmonic pick their winners. "Mark Cavendish has done something no other British sportsman has managed in the last 50 years," says former British swimmer Steve Parry, who has been weaving his way through the crowd with a microphone all night. Clare Balding and Matt Dawson also go for Cavendish, but Matt Dawson makes a claim for Darren Clarke. Michael Vaughan agrees with Parry and the rest - in here, it's Cav all the way - but that matters little. The entire nation will decide.

2148: Have you ever witnessed a longer standing ovation than that? HRH Princess Royal - 1971 SPOTY winner - presents the trophy and she'll have the first word before Sir Steve himself speaks to us.

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: SIR STEVE REDGRAVE

THE PHONE-VOTE LINES ARE NOW SHUT

2145: We've seen an on-stage Haka, we've seen a Formula 1 montage and now for the Lifetime Achievement Award.

sladey66 on Twitter: "Awww... look at Swanny and Anderson! They're like an old married couple."

Andrew Strauss
ENGLAND TEST CAPTAIN ANDREW STRAUSS: "This is a very special award for us to win. There are so many great teams who have won this in the past. The team is more important than the individual and we've all bought into that. Thanks to Andy Flower and the coaching staff, they have pushed us when we didn't want to be pushed. Our support staff have been great and our families go through all the trials and tribulations that we do and deserve this more than we do."

TEAM OF THE YEAR: ENGLAND TEST CRICKET TEAM

2137: Who wants to find out who has won the Team of the Year award? Coming right up...

2135: Turning our attention to golf and, specifically, Luke Donald... "There were so many highs and lows this year, it was very tough. My proudest achievement this year was topping the money lists on both sides of the Atlantic, no-one had done that before and you aspire to achieve something new as a sportsman." Went to my brother's school, Luke. Apparently he was OK at golf.

BBC Radio 5 Live
2120: Our Unsung Heroes have made their way into the Philharmonic for a chat with John Inverdale and the 5 live panel. Janice Eaglesham says: "We've had so many wonderful athletes through our doors [at Red Star Athletics Club in Glasgow]. We're getting disabled sport into sports pages, which is where it belongs. We're talking about elite athletes here, regardless of whether or not they have a disability." Ian Mirfin adds: "The people you work with give so much back and you get so much enjoyment. This is such a fantastic trophy, and the main SPOTY trophy is so iconic. It's just so wonderful to receive something like this."

2128: Let's hear from the man himself - "Everyone likes beating Australia. It was an incredible tour to be part of and to play a significant part in that win will always remain in my memory. It is hard to keep the concentration, but Graham Gooch at Essex has helped me improve that part of my game. I am a pretty boring batsman to watch, I can't score the runs quickly enough, so I have to hang around long enough to do it." Cook also reveals he's getting married on New Year's Eve. Sorry, ladies.

2125: Continuing the cricket theme, time to hear from the batsman who reminds me of myself while playing for Farnham Common Under-11s. And that's meant as a compliment! It's Alastair Cook...

Janice Eaglesham and Ian Mirfin
IAN MIRFIN: "We're a bit shocked and stunned. Thanks to BBC Scotland for the support, it's resulted in more coverage of disability sport. We know many other people who are involved to a greater extent than us and this is an award for volunteers everywhere."

SPORTS UNSUNG HERO: JANICE EAGLESHAM & IAN MIRFIN

2019: Comedian Miranda Hart and Manchester United striker Michael Owen are in position to present the Unsung Hero award...

BBC Sport's Frank Keogh at MediaCityUK: "The Sports Personality show is a sign Christmas is nearly upon us, but there will be no festive let-up for last year's runner-up Phil 'The Power' Taylor. In the midst of bidding to win his 16th world darts title, he told me: 'I'll practice for two or three hours on Christmas Day, for sure. I have to keep going."

2115: Next up on stage... Mo Farah. But first a video tribute featuring his Daegu heroics and words from step-daughter Rihanna. Informed that her daddy had just won World Championship 5,000m gold, she replied: "I know." Priceless.

2110: Sticking with the cricket theme, we've just seen a superbly-produced video on Andrew Strauss. Joker-in-the-pack Graeme Swann pays tribute to his team-mate with a few gags that are worse than mine. And here comes Mr Strauss... "I have always enjoyed captaining sides but if you push yourself too hard and tell everyone you should be captain maybe you shouldn't be. Thanks for those kind words, Graeme. He is one of those people who is great value for the first half of the tour but for the rest of the time everyone is physically sick of him!"

2108: A (*poor gag alert*) bloomin' good speech from Mr Flower here in the Philharmonic: "It's been an amazing few years for the England cricket team. The players have done some extraordinary things. It's been a fascinating time for me. It's a really interesting job with something new just around the corner. We've increased the honesty within the squad. If you're lying to yourself in some sort of a way as a sportsman, it can be very hard for you. It's important for a coach to maintain a balance when you're watching. Players will pick up on things, and that's the skill of communicating with your squad."

Twitter
alex_willis on Twitter: "Novak Djokovic awarded International Sports Personality of the Year award. Acceptance video shows him wearing glasses too. Adorkable."

2104: On the main stage, Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini. His side are top of the Premier League at Christmas for the first time in a long time. On stage in the Philharmonic, England cricket coach Andy Flower. His side are the best in the world. Special night.

Novak Djokovic
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: "Thank you for this beautiful award, sorry I won't be attending in person, but I am very honoured and privileged to be on the list with the great champions that have won in the past. Looking back on last year, I won three Grand Slams - who knows, maybe next year I will go for all four!"

OVERSEAS SPORTS PERSONALITY: NOVAK DJOKOVIC

2058: For those not in the loop, Andy Flower is the England cricket coach. He guided his side to an Ashes win in Australia for first time since 1987 and the top-ranked side in the world thanks to 4-0 home whitewash of India.

Twitter
The Youth Sport Trust on Twitter: "Big congrats to young golfing champion Lauren Taylor for winning Young Sports Personality of the Year 2011!"

2055: That speech is greeted with huge applause by the 5 live studio audience here in the Philharmonic, as is candidate Darren Clarke as he arrives on the main stage following a touching video montage.

Andy Flower
ANDY FLOWER: "Thank you very much to the BBC and to the English public for the support they give us It's a very proud moment for me. We moved from Zimbabwe a few years ago and this is a very proud moment for me; this country and it's people have been very good to me. Everyone in this room realises that it is the players who make the hard decisions and who have to deliver. It's great to have a good bunch of players to work with."

COACH OF THE YEAR: ANDY FLOWER

2050: On to the stage come Petra Kvitova and Keri-Anne Payne to present the Coach of the Year award.

2049: Here's what Lauren Taylor has to say about her big moment in the spot(y)light: "That speech was scary, just thinking about all the famous people there! I didn't think I was going to win, and I'm still in shock. Dad caddies me all the time, and he stays calm for me." Michael Vaughan asks Taylor what she thinks of Rory McIlroy's glasses: "He looks OK! (groans from the audience). I'm at college at the moment, and I hope to go to university in Texas next August."

2048: A quick word from main-award candidate Amir Khan: "I was robbed against Lamont Peterson but I will put that behind me and come back stronger. I will get my belts back and then step up a division. I train very hard, day in day out. I love fighting hard and putting good performances on. 2012 is a big year for me, I want to fight Floyd Mayweather and all the big names out there."

BBC Sport's Anna Thompson in the SPOTY studio: "I'm sat next to Paralympic swimming sensation Eleanor Simmonds... Shortlisted for young SPOTY but just pipped... Still all smiles though."

2042: As Amir Khan arrives on stage in the main studio, here in the Philharmonic Lauren Taylor takes her seat on the sofa next to Vaughan, Dawson, Inverdale and Balding. Beaming from ear to ear.

Lauren Taylor
LAUREN TAYLOR: "I'd like to thank my family and friends, especially my dad who caddied for me this year at The Open!"

YOUNG SPORTS PERSONALITY: LAUREN TAYLOR

2036: Time for Young SPOTY. Here come Jess Ennis and Roberto Mancini to present the award.

Twitter
TimHague1 on Twitter: "This is why I love sport. SPOTY gives me goosebumps. Sport can be so inspiring - the greatest human drama going. No script necessary."

2033: A bit more from Bob Champion on Radio Manchester and the Red Button: "The dark hours were horrendous. I didn't particularly want to die, I just wanted to be a jockey. I remember the nerves before 1981 Grand National day. I had a few painkillers and felt fine. It was a lovely sunny day. As soon as you walk into the paddock your nerves disappear; you're out there doing your job. When I won it was an absolutely fantastic moment."

2027: Award candidate Mark Cavendish arrives on stage for a chat with Gary Lineker. "It was an all right year! I had the two hardest goals I could set myself in a year but I achieved them both. I was incredibly lucky to be surrounded by some great guys. I'll just try and win what we can next year. I thrive under pressure. I was talking to Sir Steve Redgrave before and I am pretty confident that we can get GB off to the best start possible at the Olympic Games." Cav also tells of the baby girl he has on the way. Nice touch.

2025: A quick word for the brilliant Belgian choir Scala and Kolacny Brothers. They performed Viva La Vida at the top of the show for the top-10 intros and will be singing Yellow for the obituaries later.

BOB CHAMPION: "Getting the award from Tony McCoy here, I only wish I was as good as him - I'd have ridden a lot more winners. Thank you so much for the thousands and thousands of people who have supported me and the Bob Champion Trust."

Bob Champion
HELEN ROLLASON AWARD: BOB CHAMPION

2021: Time for the first award of the night...

2020: All of the top 10 have been introduced. Stuart Broad is first up on stage to talk us through the England cricket team's success, followed by Rory McIlroy to discuss his US Open triumph. "I thought it was Buddy Holly for a second," jokes John Inverdale here in the Philharmonic. "He's got a perm, or a fro!" exclaims Matt Dawson.

Andrew Strauss
Andrew Strauss - Cricket. Strauss led the England team to a fantastic Ashes win in Australia and also captained them during the historic series against India. Strauss's side performed brilliantly to secure a 4-0 series whitewash over India, which made England the number one Test team in the world.

Andy Murray
Andy Murray - Tennis. Murray has had some fantastic results in Grand Slams this year, reaching the final of the Australian Open, as well as the semi-final at the French Open, US Open and Wimbledon. He is ranked number four in the world after winning five titles this year.

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy - Golf. The Northern Irishman capped off a brilliant 2011 by bringing home his first major title with an eight-shot victory in the US Open. It came only months after his near victory at the Masters, where he had led for three rounds before failing at the last.

Amir Khan
Amir Khan - Boxing. Bolton's Khan produced an impressive display against Zab Judah in Las Vegas in 2011, knocking the American out in five rounds to make it eight fights without defeat. Khan will be fighting again before Sports Personality of the Year, this time against American Lamont Peterson.

Dai Greene
Dai Greene - Athletics. Welshman Greene won Britain's first gold medal at the Athletics World Championships after a remarkable performance in the 400m hurdles final. Greene can now add the world title to the European and Commonwealth gold medals he picked up in 2010.

Mo Farah
Mo Farah - Athletics. After last year's success at the European Championships, Farah went on to pick up gold in the 5,000m and silver in the 10,000m at this year's World Athletics Championships in Daegu. His success in the 5,000m made him the first British athlete to win a global gold medal in that event.

Luke Donald
Luke Donald - Golf. Donald beat compatriot Lee Westwood in a play-off to win the PGA Championship at Wentworth and overtake his countryman as the world's number one golfer in 2011. Donald also clinched the PGA Tour money list title this year, which was capped off with an impressive victory at the Disney Classic in Florida.

Alastair Cook
Alastair Cook - Cricket. Cook was a key part of the Ashes winning England side, who also went on to become the world's number one Test team. Cook was also appointed one-day captain for the national side. Since last Christmas, he has notched up more than 1000 Test runs.

Darren Clarke
Darren Clarke - Golf. The 43-year-old clinched his maiden major title in 2011, winning the Open Championship at Royal St George's in July. Clarke's success was even sweeter for him, as he had had 19 previous attempts at lifting the prestigious trophy.

Mark Cavendish
Mark Cavendish - Cycling. Cavendish became the first British winner of the Tour de France green jersey after five stage victories in 2011, taking his overall tally to 20. The Manx cyclist was also crowned road race World Champion after an amazing performance in Denmark.

1958: Almost there, folks. Treat BBC One and the BBC Sport website as your homes for the next couple of hours at least. All eyes on the 10 men inside the studio next door. Nervous? I am.

1950: As 5 live switches to commentary of Tottenham v Chelsea, the 'audience with 5 live' can be listened to via BBC Radio Manchester. Very jolly in here as the debate moves back to moment of 2011. "I loved Lancashire winning the county championship for the first time in 77 years," says one chap. A lady comments: "My highlight was Man City winning the FA Cup and I was that embarrassing older woman doing the Poznan in a pub in Wembley!"

1945: Back here in the Philharmonic, the conversation moves on to the absence of a woman in the top 10 for the main award. Clare Balding (who has joined Inverdale, Vaughan and Dawson on the panel) suggests women's sport gains far less media coverage in non-Olympic years. Speaking to the Daily Telegraph this week, BBC director of sport Barbara Slater said: "It is a disappointment, no question, but sometimes something happens that throws a spotlight on a key issue. People look at an all-male shortlist and their gut instinct is that it can't be right. But whatever the specific reasons in this case no one can say that our women athletes get sufficient coverage for their achievements or as the role models they are."

Photographers on the red carpet
1940: I can confirm that... du Du DU... the SPOTY studio is full. Every seat taken. Doors shut. Football Focus presenter Dan Walker warming up the crowd. Just seen pics of 2010 third-place Jess Ennis and 2007 winner Joe Calzaghe looking splendid. The paps are out in force.

BBC Sport's Frank Keogh at MediaCityUK: "Sports Personality is being held in Salford for the first time in the show's 58-year history and local resident Stephen Ryder, 37, was at the front of the crowd as celebrities arrived. He told me: 'I remember when this area was just rundown and derelict. To see it now and all these sports stars around the place is unbelievable. It's great to see." Paula Radcliffe, Kolo Toure, Jackie Stewart and Barry McGuigan were among those who stopped to autograph his shopping bag."

BBC Radio 5 Live
1930: 'Sporting highlight of 2011' is also the question being asked by John Inverdale to the 5 live audience here at the BBC Philharmonic studio. "As we're sitting so close to Old Trafford, my highlight of the year was Manchester United getting thrashed by Manchester City," says one young man. The gentleman next to him replies: "Well, I'm a born-and-bred Man United fan and that wasn't a happy day for us!"

England and Arsenal Ladies captain Faye White on Twitter: "Looking forward to watching BBC SPOTY tonight!"

BradLapthorne on Twitter: "SPOTY tonight - looking forward to a night in by the open fire, high off the Christmas buzz!"

Twitter
BBC Sport's Anna Thompson at MediaCityUK: "Everton boss David Moyes and LMA chief Richard Bevan having a good old chat ... Wonder what they're talking about? #SPOTY"

1920: We have to be very careful with our coverage of the 10 main-award candidates because it's decided by a public vote and we don't wish to affect your decision in any way, shape or form. So, in terms of you tweets and texts, try to keep them general where possible. Keep your 2011 highlights coming and tell me what you're looking forward to next year. We're also unable to give out the phone-vote numbers - for those, you'll have to watch BBC One at 2000 GMT. It's going to be a cracking show. The stage looks stunning, the guest-list phenomenal - and there are a couple of nice surprises, too.

Text in your views on 81111 (UK)
Mark, Pompey, via text on 81111: "Why is SPOTY on a Thursday night and not last Sunday?"
A good question but one, I'm afraid, I can't answer. Truth is, I'm not sure but what I do know (I think) is that this is the first SPOTY that has been staged on a weeknight and the closest it has been to Christmas.

Twitter
Mattdavies26 on Twitter: "Sir Steve Redgrave - can't think of anyone more deserving of the Lifetime Achievement award. It only took five gold medals to win it!"

BBC Sports Personality of the Year award
1910: The silver-plated four-turret lens camera is looking resplendent. The guests are filing in. The good and great of the sporting world are suited and booted. It's less than an hour until BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2011. To whet the appetite, I'd urge you to watch the official trail and presenter Jake Humphrey's behind-the-scenes glance at the event.

BBC Sport presenter Mark Pougatch on Twitter: "Feel very lucky and privileged to have seen eight of the SPOTY nominations close up in action this year and wish I'd seen the others…"

Twitter
BBC Sport presenter Clare Balding on Twitter: "On the red carpet at Sports Personality. Joe Calzaghe & Kristina Rhianoff are here!"

BBC Sport's Frank Keogh at MediaCityUK: "I've been speaking to champion jockey AP McCoy about his Sports Personality win last year and he admitted it was a wrench to return the famous trophy, albeit he has a smaller replica to keep. 'It's a hugely prestigious award and a great honour to win it. It's something I'll be forever proud of. You can't win it unless all the people get behind you. It was an amazing evening with all these A-list sports stars. I'm sure some of them were wondering who I was,' he says. Of this year's 10 contenders, he adds: 'This year's list is tough. It should be close.'"

BBC Radio 5 Live
Five-time Olympic gold medallist and 2000 SPOTY winner Sir Steve Redgrave on 5 live:"I was diagnosed with diabetes three years before the Sydney Olympics. I thought it was the end of my career, but I was able to carry on. Sports Personality of the Year is a very, very special night. You never really know if you've won until your name is mentioned at the end. If you win it's a very special feeling."

Twitter
Former 400m World Championship gold medallist Derek Redmond on Twitter: "On the M6 on my way to SPOTY chilling at 69mph! @krissakabusi goes flying past heading to the same event. The race is *on*!"
Mind your speed, chaps.

1855: A lovely round of applause for Matt Dawson and Michael Vaughan as the pair take to the 5 live stage. Moments earlier, both men were peering over my laptop but when I offered them the chance to take over, they scuttled away rather sharpish...

1845: There's a real buzz around MediaCityUK this evening, or so I'm told. We're stationed inside the BBC Philharmonic studio and what an impressive site it is. Next door is the main arena but this is the place to be until 2000 GMT. Why? Because BBC Radio 5 live are hosting an audience before, during and after Sports Personality. The doors have literally just swung open and a couple of hundred free-ticket holders are filing in. John Inverdale is standing a few feet away from me playing compere. Every single winner will be brought in here after coming off stage and there's a 'Winners Hour' from 2200-2300 GMT. When 5 live switches to Tottenham v Chelsea at about 1950 GMT, you can tune into BBC Radio Manchester. Once that's over, SPOTY resumes on 5 live. Winners Hour can be viewed on the Red Button.

Elena Baltacha
Britain's top female tennis player
British number one tennis player Elena Baltacha on Twitter: "I'm ready for #SPOTY xx"

BBC Sport's Anna Thompson on the red carpet: "Most of the top 10 contenders have arrived ... All looking very dapper. My charges Andy Flower and the Solheim Cup team safely here and enjoying the hospitality."

Text in your views on 81111 (UK)
England spin bowler and Ashes winner Graeme Swann on Twitter: "On the way to SPOTY in Manchester. Not sure me and Jimmy Anderson should've gone for these Dumb and Dumber tuxedos!"

1830: Now then. None of this could be possible without you, could it? So why not have your say on proceedings. Let me know your sporting highlights from 2011, expectations for 2012 and anything else besides. Simply tweet me @bbcsport_david using the hashtag #BBCSPOTY or text us on 81111 (UK).

1825: No fewer than eight prizes to be dished out tonight. We start with the Helen Rollason award, which will be given to fund-raising former jockey Bob Champion. Then comes the Young Sports Personality of the year gong, for which we have a three-person shortlist of Lucy Garner, Eleanor Simmons and Lauren Taylor. Third up is Coach of the Year before we move on to Overseas Sports Personality and that's followed by Unsung Hero. Our sixth award goes to Team of the Year, our seventh is Lifetime Achievement and that one goes to Sir Steve Redgrave. Last but obviously not least, it's BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2011.

It's sunny
1810: A surprisingly warm welcome to BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2011. Yes, we may be in deep December but 'cold and rainy' Manchester was blessed with beautiful sunshine today. A perfect setting for the 58th edition of this special event. We're live from MediaCityUK in Salford for the first time. Let's get this party started...

BBC Sports Personality of the Year award
1800: In just under four hours from now, the public will speak. A year of astonishing endeavour will be honoured. Twelve months of blood, sweat, tears and cheers will be recognised. You are about to bestow upon a man one of the greatest individual accolades in sport. Now that's what I call a Christmas present...



see also
BBC Sports Personality 2011 photos
23 Dec 11 |  Sports Personality
Cavendish wins Sports Personality
30 Dec 11 |  Sports Personality
England cricketers win team award
07 Sep 12 |  Sports Personality
England's Flower wins coach award
07 Sep 12 |  Sports Personality
Djokovic lands BBC overseas award
07 Sep 12 |  Sports Personality
Taylor wins BBC Young Personality
22 Dec 11 |  Sports Personality
Redgrave given BBC Lifetime award
07 Sep 12 |  Sports Personality
Scots duo win Unsung Hero award
26 Dec 11 |  Sports Personality
National hero Champion honoured
22 Dec 11 |  Sports Personality
In pictures: Sports Personality top 10
20 Dec 11 |  Sports Personality
Sports Personality - How they voted
29 Nov 11 |  Sports Personality
Sports Personality top 10: Mark Cavendish
13 Dec 11 |  Sports Personality
Sports Personality top 10: Darren Clarke
14 Dec 11 |  Sports Personality
Sports Personality top 10: Alastair Cook
15 Dec 11 |  Sports Personality
Sports Personality top 10: Luke Donald
15 Dec 11 |  Sports Personality
Sports Personality top 10: Mo Farah
13 Dec 11 |  Sports Personality
Sports Personality top 10: Dai Greene
19 Dec 11 |  Sports Personality
Sports Personality top 10: Amir Khan
22 Dec 11 |  Sports Personality
Sports Personality top 10: Rory McIlroy
13 Dec 11 |  Sports Personality
Sports Personality top 10: Andy Murray
22 Dec 11 |  Sports Personality
Sports Personality top 10: Andrew Strauss
13 Dec 11 |  Sports Personality
McCoy wins BBC Sports Personality
19 Dec 10 |  Sport Homepage


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