Entertainment: Saggers calls out the BBC for trying to 'cancel part of our history'

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Former BBC Sports Report presenter Mark Saggers has hit out at the broadcaster's decision to 'cancel part our history' by ditching the classified football results on the programme, labelling the move 'hideous'.

The decision was put down to the BBC needing more time to build up to the 5.30pm Premier League match on a Saturday. But it has been met with an outcry after decades of tradition were unceremoniously dispensed with, drawing the ire of BBC legends Des Lynam, John Motson and Mark Lawrenson.

Saggers, 63, began his broadcasting career with BBC Radio Cambridgeshire and moved on to sport in 1989 before joining Sky three years later. He returned to the BBC in 2001 and his regular Sunday show, Sport on Five.

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He tweeted on Tuesday night: 'I first worked for Sports Report on Sport on Two in the 80s and having had the privilege of saying, 'It's five o'clock and time for Sports Report — and first here are the football results with (former results reader) James Alexander Gordon,' this latest crass decision by the BBC to cancel part of our history is hideous.'

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries yesterday added to the pressure on the BBC to reverse their decision, saying: 'While it is essential for the BBC to keep pace with technological change, losing such an institution in favour of 'build-up' reporting strikes me as the wrong decision and will be a bitter pill for fans to swallow.'

Saggers has added his voice to a growing list of notable broadcasters from the corporation's football coverage down the years to have criticised the move.

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Lynam, who presented Sports Report from 1970 to 1977, said: 'It seems cheap. It has been going for 50 to 60 years, so why change it at all? It feels like change for change's sake.'

The 79-year-old, whose BBC links go back to 1968, added: 'Some people feel like they have to make changes and freshen things up; new department heads putting their stamp on things. I remember someone came in and changed the theme tune to Match of the Day. They almost burned down Television Centre!

'The BBC soon changed their mind on that and hopefully they will do so here.'

The former Sports Report host labelled the corporation's decision 'hideous' in the aftermath © Provided by Daily Mail The former Sports Report host labelled the corporation's decision 'hideous' in the aftermath

Lawrenson, 65, a former Match of the Day regular, added: 'I worked for the BBC for 25 years and I love it. I also understand it, or at least I thought I did. Certain things should be sacrosanct and this is one of them.

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'The BBC make some strange decisions these days. I loved all my years there and have absolutely no axe to grind.

'The Beeb has been part of my life. But I was shocked when I read about this in Monday's Daily Mail.

'What really winds me up is that somebody from the BBC sports department has actually agreed to this. They have thought it is a good idea. How can anyone even think that?'

Des Lynam (pictured at Wimbledon last month) has described the BBC's decision as 'cheap' © Provided by Daily Mail Des Lynam (pictured at Wimbledon last month) has described the BBC's decision as 'cheap' Read more

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