Derek Thompson: will take on a reporting role for Radio 5 livePICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Thompson makes switch to Radio 5 live
FORMER Channel 4 Racing stalwart Derek Thompson will make the switch to the BBC next month after the corporation unveiled him as the star acquisition in a Radio 5 live team that, for the first time, will broadcast all 27 races at the Cheltenham Festival.
Thompson, one of a number of established names to be dropped by Channel 4 before the start of its four-year exclusive terrestrial television deal, will take on the reporting role previously filled by Clare Balding prior to her switch to C4.
The enhanced Cheltenham coverage is key to a four-year racing deal unveiled on Monday by the BBC and Racecourse Media Group, whose chief executive Richard FitzGerald said: “We are delighted BBC Radio and Online have increased its commitment to racing, and it is excellent news that every race from the Cheltenham Festival will be covered live by BBC Radio. The sport will undoubtedly benefit from more quality airtime throughout the year.”
Gold Cup-winning jockey Andrew Thornton will also be part of the line-up alongside and Paralympian and broadcaster Kate Grey.
Commentary on 16 festival races will be heard on 5 live, with the remaining 11 on 5 live Sports Extra.
For more on the BBC's acquisition of Derek Thompson, read Lee Mottershead's Monday column in the Racing Post - download the digital newspaper from 3am or buy it as a PDF from 9am