Sports Personality of the Year takes on different look after BBC say show must go on as they plan to celebrate the sporting and fundraising efforts of the public during lockdown
- There will be a special Sports Personality of the Year programme in December
- The BBC had considered not holding the ceremony for first time since 1954
- But Sportsmail understands they want to broaden the content of programme
- The BBC want to pay tribute to the sporting endeavours of ordinary people
The BBC are planning to celebrate the sporting and fundraising efforts of the general public during lockdown, as well as the achievements of Britain’s world-class sports stars, during a special Sports Personality of the Year programme in December.
The broadcaster had considered not holding the awards ceremony for the first time since 1954 due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, but Sportsmail understands that they instead want to broaden the content of the programme.
The cancellation of the Olympics, Euro 2020 and Wimbledon was a major blow to the BBC as they have the live television rights for all three events, a setback that also had impact on their planning for SPOTY. But despite the potential problems caused by a lack of footage the executives at the corporation say the show must go on.
Ben Stokes was named Sports Personality of the Year in 2019 thanks to his heroics for England
As a result it is hoped SPOTY will take place in its usual pre-Christmas slot, albeit without a live audience and with a very different tone, although confirmation is not expected until later in the year. The BBC’s final decision and the nature of the programme will be heavily influenced by any lockdown restrictions in place at the time.
In addition to handing out the usual awards for sports stars and teams — with the achievements of Tyson Fury, Lewis Hamilton, James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Liverpool expected to be recognised in some way — the BBC want to pay tribute to the sporting endeavours of ordinary people during what has been an extraordinary year.
While the incredible £32million fundraising effort of Sir Captain Tom Moore is bound to be included, the programme may also include features on other stories of physical achievement and sacrifice during lockdown, such as people running marathons in extraordinary places or completing remarkable endurance challenges.
Tyson Fury is the favourite to win Sports Personality of the Year after his brilliant comeback
The fundraising and political endeavours of athletes are also likely to be discussed, such as the involvement of Premier League captains in raising money for the NHS and supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as Marcus Rashford’s campaign for the Government to fund free school meals for children over the summer holidays.
‘The BBC is at its best in big national moments when the country comes together and that is the intention behind this year’s SPOTY,’ said a source involved in planning the programme. ‘We’ll aim to reflect the mood of the country and sports fans in particular during what has been an extraordinary year by speaking to them and telling their stories, as well as celebrating the success of our world-class athletes. It will be a very different show and probably quite emotional.’
Tyson Fury is favourite to win following his comeback victory against Deontay Wilder to claim the WBC heavyweight title in February, with Lewis Hamilton, Ronnie O’Sullivan and Rashford also prominent in the betting.
Marcus Rashford’s inspiring work over lockdown is likely to be discussed during the show