Despite Scotland’s David Millar leading the Tour for the 1st 3 stages, partisan UK based fans are having to stay up late into the night to catch the highlights broadcast on Channel 4. The only other option being an early evening showing that is over by the time most honest folk get home from work.
Saturday, the first day of the Tour was not so bad as most people would have been able to catch the early evening slot and see Millar take yellow in the time trial. But for the most part C4’s highlights programmes are on after midnight, which is really not ideal, particularly as Millar has managed to hold on to yellow through to today’s 4th stage.
According to Sportcal, David Kerr, Channel 4’s editor of sport, said that ‘as a general channel it is sometimes difficult to provide comprehensive sports coverage without alienating other viewers’. He said that the channel has ‘made a huge commitment to sport,’ pointing in particular to its coverage of Test match cricket.
The race organiser, Société du Tour de France, has joined the chorus of disapproval, but it is powerless to influence broadcasters’ schedules. It certainly is odd to see Channel 4 undermine the potential popularity of what has been a flagship sports slot for them over the years. Do we not like that.