When Channel 4 won the bid to host the London 2012 Paralympic Games I’m sure there were some who thought it a curious decision.
But yesterday I was invited to a briefing in which the channel outlined ambitious and exciting plans which boast the most extensive coverage of the Paralympic Games which has ever been broadcast in the UK.
The channel will have more than 150 hours of all day coverage and is investing significant resources into its coverage.
The sporting event is to be hosted by a team of experienced sports journalists including former Olympian Jonathan Edwards and broadcaster Kelly Cates.
In addition, half the presenters and reporters in the Channel 4 line-up will be disabled; this includes eight new faces that were drawn from a nationwide talent search. The team were discovered in 2010 when Channel 4 began its search for disabled talent. It committed £500,000 to the search with the aim to bring experienced coverage to a mainstream audience.
We were introduced to the new line up yesterday, and they were bursting with enthusiasm. But what also struck me was that they seemed to already have the experience and knowledge of many seasoned reporters who have been doing this for many many years. The new reporters and presenters are: Daraine Mulvihill, Arthur Williams, Martin Dougan, Liam Holt, Rachel Latham, Jordan Jarrett-Bryan, Alex Brooker and Diana Man.
I’m excited about and looking forward to the Paralympic Games. Channel 4’s investment is so important because finally we will have proper, mainstream reporting of a massive sporting event which has been lacking in quality coverage for far too long.