Jason Mohammad will replace Rishi Persad as the BBC’s second presenter at the World Championship as Persad is off to join Channel 4 Racing.
Mohammad, who will also be the new presenter of Final Score, hosts a daily show on BBC Radio Wales and is a regular presenter of rugby for the BBC.
He follows in a long line of BBC ‘second men.’
There was David Icke, who in the 1980s was David Vine’s able deputy and who nowadays believes the world is run by 12 foot shape-shifting reptiles.
There was Tony Gubba, a durable all rounder currently doing his best to make Dancing On Ice sound important.
There was Eamonn Holmes, now a well remunerated presenter of Sky News and ITV’s This Morning whenever Phil and Holly can’t be bothered.
There was Dougie Donnelly, probably the best of them all with a particular skill for interviewing. Dougie now travels the world commentating on golf.
There was Ray Stubbs, a solid BBC pro who started as a member of the production team and who now presents live football for ESPN.
There was Garry Richardson, sports presenter on Today whose yearly task at Wimbledon is to harass Andy Murray for an interview on the practice courts.
There was Matt Smith, now ITV’s no.2 football presenter.
When Vine retired in 2000, his place as main presenter was filled by Hazel Irvine, one of sports broadcasting's genuine professionals. However, not even Hazel can front every hour of coverage so Mohammad will make his debut at the Crucible.
It’s a harder job than it looks. What viewers don’t see, or more accurately hear, is the constant stream of noise coming down the presenter’s earpiece while they are on air. This is often irrelevant and frequently baffling but the trick is to take in the relevant information while still talking to camera or interviewing.
Vine was a master at making the whole thing seem perfectly natural but, like Irvine, all the work had been done before the programme began: research, double-checking facts, talking to the right people.
The Ortis Deley fiasco at Channel 4’s coverage of the World Athletics Championship in 2011 proves what happens when these basic procedures are not followed.
I don’t know Jason but I wish him good luck. They are long hours at the Crucible and there are some late nights but the snooker community always gives newcomers a warm welcome and he’ll find it a fun, if tiring, 17 days.