Direct descendant of the old Third Programme.|
Direct descendant of the old Third Programme, once the home of "Live Crescent".|
The BBC began broadcasting recorded highlights of MC tournaments in the late 1920s, but it wasn't until the Home International series of 1933 that live play was broadcast, these broadcasts eventually finding their way on to their natural home, the Third Programme, after the Second World War. MC broadcasts were often allowed to run over time, and caused a significant amount of unrest in 1964, when a tense deciding match between Ruttsborough and McSporran intruded into the coverage of the Last Night of the Proms. Live MC was doomed, some say, on the BBC from that moment. When Radio 3 was founded in 1967, no room was found in the schedules for even recorded MC for over a year, and it took a bitter and long-running blockade of marmalade supplies to Broadcasting House to restore the previous situation.
With the advent of FM broadcasting, live MC found its own niche on the Medium Wave frequency for several years, until that particular frequency was sold off to the commercial sector, and - amid much controversy - MC moved to the fledgling Radio 5. Ratings were poor at first, and live broadcasts were dropped in favour of edited late night highlights, which enjoyed a brief surge of popularity, before another round of rebranding launched FiveLive, and saw the end of the BBC's agreement with IMCS.
Sporadic attempts have been made since to resurrect live MC commentaries, but the current BBC setup for some reason cannot see past the short-form game, often played for laughs these days, as heard on I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue. There are persistent rumours of an attempt to set up a digital radio channel, purportedly to be called "The 'Live Crescent' Channel", but it is not at all clear how this would be funded.
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