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Lynam, Desmond (1942-)


Main image of Lynam, Desmond (1942-)

With his laid back style, wit and dashing looks (including trademark moustache) Desmond Lynam is, alongside Dickie Davies, one of the few sports presenters to gain plaudits from both the predominantly male sports fans and female viewers, as proven by numerous industry and viewers' awards and the oft-used soubriquet "housewives' favourite".

After a successful career as a sports journalist with BBC Radio 2, Lynam joined BBC Television in 1978 and became presenter of Grandstand from 1979 to 1992. Eager to exploit his talents and popularity to the full, the BBC made him presenter of Match of the Day from 1988-1999 as well as Sportsnight from 1991-1997. During his time with the BBC he covered just about every major sporting event: Wimbledon, the Grand National, the Olympic Games (1980-1998), World Cup football (1982-1998) and more. His relaxed, twinkling professionalism made for engaging and entertaining viewing and was a perfect foil for the sporting experts that graced the studios.

He made a high profile 'transfer' to ITV in 1999, to host their football coverage, including The Big Match and Champions League. When ITV won the rights to the premiership highlights package from 2001 he was the obvious choice to host The Premiership (2001-2004). He resigned after the Euro 2004 football championships without ITV having realised his full potential.

His cross-over appeal seemed a perfect fit when, in September 2005, he took over as presenter of Countdown (Channel 4, 1982- ) after Richard Whiteley's death. After a hesitant start he grew into the role, only to resign after a year, citing excessive travel demands.

Since leaving ITV, Lynam has also worked with Sir David Frost on Sky One's The World's Greatest Sporting Legend, hosted his own show, Des Meets..., reported on Wimbledon for Radio Five Live and presented Sports Mastermind for BBC2.

Gosta Johansson

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Thumbnail image of Countdown (1982-)Countdown (1982-)

The long-running quiz show that kicked off Channel 4

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