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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
BBC Leeds and The Guardian must be mad! A brilliant book. Well worth purchasing. Martin Kelner is my favourite panelist on FT by some distance, and this book does nothing to change it.!
Published 20 months ago by 1st time reviewer

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Tops up the Kelner addiction
Fans lamenting the loss of Kelner's Guardian column on TV sport will welcome this history, although his ascerbic humour and satirical voice does not quite translate to a full volume.
Published 16 months ago by BobMay


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!, 5 Jan 2013
BBC Leeds and The Guardian must be mad! A brilliant book. Well worth purchasing. Martin Kelner is my favourite panelist on FT by some distance, and this book does nothing to change it.!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Back of the net!!, 22 Oct 2012
By 
Bantam Dave (Bradford, UK) - See all my reviews
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As much as I would have loved to have attended one of the events at this year's Olympic Games I'm fairly sure that had I have done so I wouldn't have had a better seat than the one I actually had - my comfy armchair in front of the TV at home. Not only that, thanks to the BBC I could watch any event I chose, just by pressing a red button. The 2012 Olympics turned out to be a triumphant occasion but it surely also offered the armchair viewer the ultimate in sports coverage as, at times, as many as 24 different programmes were being screened. British TV sports coverage has certainly come a long way from its first attempt in 1937 when coverage of Wimbledon was screened to about 2000 viewers. This fascinating book traces the rise and rise of televised sport from these early days and also speculates on where TV sport will go from here.

Martin Kelner does a wonderful job of guiding the reader through the history of TV sport, explaining how sport has turned from being almost an afterthought into being the bedrock on which satellite TV was built. He has obviously done his research well because the book just about touches upon everything anything of any relevance on the subject. Kelner is also a very funny writer which means that the book is always a joy to read but I particularly enjoyed the sections about the pioneering years of TV sport and the people behind them and being reminded about those much missed programmes, Grandstand and ITV's cheap & cheerful version, World of Sport.

I find it hard to fault this book. Martin Kelner is practically a cult figure in the North of England due to his radio shows and many others slavishly read his Guardian column, Screen Break, and I'm sure that this book will disappoint none of them; I just hope that non-Kelner devotees will read it as well.

The book is published by Wisden Sports Writing whose remit is "to showcase brilliant writing". They have definitely succeeded in this with Sit Down and Cheer.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant read, 13 Nov 2012
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Just to say that i have just finished the book and thought it was a great read - takingthe humour that is so visible each week in Martin's Sport on TV Guardian column and adding the solid research and intellectual rigour (not normally associated with Martin - especially his pocasts) and you get a full and informed guide to how sport in this country developed from a Saturday betting attraction to a focal part of our television viewing - and reasoning to subscribe
In conclusion - Its a great read ,followwing the lives and times of several sports commentators whom i grew up, with delivered in a sharply written and very funny prose
Thanks MK
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative, evocative, enlightening and above all funny, 24 Sep 2013
By 
Kevin Hall (West Sussex, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Sit Down and Cheer: A History of Sport on TV (Wisden Sports Writing) (Paperback)
As a fan of Mr Kelner's unblemished punditry on shows like Fighting Talk and also as a fan of watching sport on TV I had to read this book. It's not a disappointment either. Stuffed full of information and interesting background detail it covers an era of TV sport which pretty much lines up with my own life time. My first memories of TV sport are in the black and white era of Grandstand, watching TV on what my mother refers to, without a trace of irony, as her nine inch Bush. Also watching World of Sport at my Nan's complete with the obligatory hour of grappling (Mick McManus and co, not me and my Nan). So the book evokes warm memories of my childhood, as well as memories of the sporting events mentioned in the book. There are some wonderful little nuggets of information to discover here.

To be honest I think watching sport in person is overrated. It's much better watched from your sofa, and Mr K describes how this boon to civilisation came about in interesting and often hilarious detail. He brings the story up to date, through the rise of Sky and now the dominance of betting funding the whole thing. And thank goodness for that. Sky Super Sunday would not be the same without regular breaks for a disembodied Ray Winstone to recommend us to 'ave a bang on something or other.

The only thing I would say is that the author probably hasn't publicised this work on social media enough. A few tweets recommending it to his followers could have got the word of mouth going. It would surely be at the top of the best seller lists by now.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sit Down And Enjoy, 12 Nov 2013
By 
A. Marczak "mazzarak" (Mordor) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sit Down and Cheer: A History of Sport on TV (Wisden Sports Writing) (Paperback)
I purchased this book with the expectation that it would be full of gags from newspaper articles, radio shows and blogs; a compilation of Kelner's finest works, along with reworkings of Fighting Talk greatest hits. I was totally surprised to find myself reading an original work of great depth, insight and humour.

Most people who come across this book will know Martin Kelner from BBC Radio's Fighting Talk, and FT cronies pop up throughout the book, but its clear that this is more than a cobbled together job. Kelner has spent time with former TV executives, commentators, bystanders and decision makers to give a full account of how TV changed the way we view sport.

Understandably, the majority of the book is devoted to football, as we hear about the rivalries between ITV and BBC, Motson and Davies, Coleman and pretty much everyone, and we are reminded of the greatness of the likes of Frank Bough and Jimmy Hill, before "other things" overshadowed them.

There is much love and attention granted, copious amounts of research and references given, and I would recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in the time before Sky took over everything.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's as if you were there..., 1 July 2014
By 
Martin (Yorkshire, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Sit Down and Cheer: A History of Sport on TV (Wisden Sports Writing) (Paperback)
It's rare that I read a book in its entirety in a couple of days, but - despite being factually based - Sit Down and Cheer is a real page-turner for anyone who grew up in the 60s and 70s, when televised sport was ingrained in the fabric of the nation, in the days when commentators and presenters were household names, and almost felt like one of the family - whether one was a sports fan or not (there was actually little choice, much of the time).
I can only begin to imagine the many hours of research that went into this book - it feels like a genuine labour of love. There's enough detail but without feeling like you're reading a text-book, plus - on his own admission - Martin injects his own personal experience of events in between the facts. This serves as a kind of time-warp that transports the reader back to days of studiously avoiding midweek football results before Sportsnight screened the highlights, what you were doing during the clatter tension of the teatime teleprinter on Grandstand each Saturday, or how you tried to pick up clues from Football Focus to figure out where Match of the Day was being recorded that day.
My only slight criticism is that, in his bias towards mainstream sports such as football, cricket, athletics and horse-racing, Martin can come across as a little dismissive of others that in their time (or still are) were equally popular with the TV audience. For example, motor sports scarcely get a mention (was Murray Walker not, in his own way, as great a commentator as David Coleman?), plus I take exception to speedway being lumped in with the stage-managed spectacle that was all-in wrestling. During the 1970s and 80s it was the second most popular summer spectator sport after cricket, and regularly appeared on World of Sport. Even today it commands - at the time of writing - an average of five to six hours per week on satellite TV. Hardly a minority sport.
In conclusion, this book is a social history as much as a sporting chronicle, and those familiar with Martin's radio shows will be reassured to know that he writes just as he speaks - it's as if he's sitting next to you. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nostaglia fest, 12 Jan 2014
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Affectionately and wittily written trawl through the history of sport on British television.
Very enjoyable from start to finish, might treat myself to a "hard" copy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An amusing jaunt through tv sport history, 9 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Sit Down and Cheer: A History of Sport on TV (Wisden Sports Writing) (Paperback)
An amusing and light hearted journey through television sport from the early Grandstand days to modern cut throat bidding for sporting rights via Sky and BT Sport.
Martin Kelner is a skilfull and anecdotal writer and those familiar with his Guardian columns will enjoy the extra room he has here to expand his repertoire. All the main suspects are here: David Coleman, Eamonn Andrews, Frank Bough, Dickie Davies, Des Lynam, Steve Ryder. People in their late fifties and sixties will particular enjoy the retelling of the golden days of TV sport from the seventies and eighties. The only shame is that there are not more photos to go along with the stories.
An easy, coffee table book read, that can be dipped into many times.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Read, 22 Nov 2013
By 
Easily Pleased "T" (Hampshire, England) - See all my reviews
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Really well written and extensively researched book, full of Kelner's humour. Some of the facts he has unearthed are amazing. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 1st Class, 18 Feb 2013
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Very entertaining, well balanced humorous review of sports coverage on TV from the early black and white days to the present day, with thoughts on future development of the genre.
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