John Inverdale

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John Inverdale
Inverdale in 2005
Born John Inverdale
(1957-09-27) 27 September 1957 (age 57)
Plymouth, Devon, England, UK
Residence Kingston upon Thames, London
Nationality British
Education Clifton College
Occupation Television and Radio presenter
Employer BBC Sport, ITV Sport
Spouse(s) Jackie Inverdale
Children 2

John Inverdale (born 27 September 1957) is an English broadcaster who works for the BBC and ITV.

During his radio career, he has presented coverage of many major sporting events including the Olympic Games, Wimbledon, the Grand National and the FIFA World Cup.[1] He is the main television presenter of Today at Wimbledon and has hosted television coverage of sports programmes including Rugby Special and Grandstand. He also presents ITV's coverage of the French Open.

Early life[edit]

Inverdale was born in Plymouth, Devon, the son of a Royal Navy dental surgeon, Captain John Inverdale, who played rugby union for Devonport Services. Inverdale was educated at Clifton College in Bristol and at the University of Southampton, where he obtained a history degree in 1979, also being the editor of the student newspaper Wessex News and captained the university's tennis team for two years.

After gaining a post-graduate journalism qualification at University of Wales Institute, Cardiff,[2] he began his career with two years at the Lincolnshire Echo, and then joined BBC Radio Lincolnshire in 1982.

Broadcasting career[edit]


Inverdale began to work on the BBC's national radio stations in 1985, firstly on Radio 2's sports unit, then between 1990 and 1994 at Radio 5, where he presented the flagship sports programme Sport On 5. In 1994 he became one of the main regular presenters on the relaunched BBC Radio 5 Live. He presented the drivetime show John Inverdale Nationwide until 1997, for which he was named Sony Broadcaster of the Year in 1997. At 5 Live, he hosted the topical show, Any Sporting Questions, a variation on Radio 4's Any Questions, and similarly toured the UK each week. In 2008 he broadcast for 5 Live from the Olympic Games in China. Along with Sir Steve Redgrave he appeared at Shunyi Rowing Lake for the Olympics in Beijing

Inverdale is a sports enthusiast and has headed 5 Live's coverage of such events as Wimbledon, the Olympic Games and Commonwealth Games, the football and rugby union World Cups, the World Athletics Championships, the Ryder Cup, the Open Championship, the London Marathon and the Cheltenham Festival.


Inverdale has also worked regularly for BBC Television. He became the BBC's main Rugby Union anchor in the 2006 Six Nations Championships following the departure of Steve Rider to ITV Sport. He is also the presenter of Today at Wimbledon, a highlights show of the day's tennis play at Wimbledon on BBC Two.

Inverdale was the main host for ITV's coverage of the 2012 French Open and 2013 French Open from Roland Garros.[3] In October 2012, he filmed several episodes of the Channel 4 show, Countdown.


In 2009, several listeners complained of his "sexist and patronising view" of women's tennis during the Wimbledon championships.[4]

In the 2013 Wimbledon Tennis Ladies Final, while winner Marion Bartoli was hugging her father, he asked BBC Radio 5 live listeners: "I just wonder if her dad, because he has obviously been the most influential person in her life, I just wonder if her dad did say to her when she was 12, 13, 14 maybe, 'Listen, you are never going to be, you know, a looker. 'You are never going to be somebody like a Sharapova, you're never going to be 5ft 11, you're never going to be somebody with long legs, so you have to compensate for that.'"[5]

A BBC spokesman later said of the comment by Inverdale: "We accept that this remark was insensitive and for that we apologise."[4] Inverdale's words prompted an outpouring of criticism on social networking sites, such as Twitter.[4] Inverdale himself apologised on air the following day for his "ham-fisted comments",[6] saying that he had "understandably caused something of a furore"[5] and that he had apologised to Bartoli in a letter.[6]

Bartoli later responded to the comment, saying, "It doesn't matter, honestly. I am not blonde, yes. That is a fact. Have I dreamt about having a model contract? No. I'm sorry. But have I dreamed about winning Wimbledon? Absolutely, yes. And to share this moment with my dad was absolutely amazing and I am so proud of it."[7]

James Harding, director of news at the BBC, also criticised Inverdale's remarks about Bartoli.[7] When asked at the Women in Journalism event in July 2013 whether Inverdale ought to be fired over the comment, Harding said: "I think he said the wrong thing ... You have got to own your mistakes and apologise for them. I do think it's important that an apology too is an important thing and if you are talking about sacking someone, [you have to ask] is it proportionate. As a license fee payer I think it was wrong."[7] The BBC received nearly 700 complaints after Inverdale's comment was broadcast.[7]

After the remarks, Culture Secretary Maria Miller wrote to BBC director general Lord Hall with her concerns and asked for "an update on any further action that is likely to be taken".[5] In his reply, Hall wrote, "I agree that the comments made by John (Inverdale) during the build-up to the women's final were totally unacceptable and fell well beneath the standards we expect of our presenters."[5] He also said BBC executives had told Inverdale that "an incident of this nature must never happen again".[5]


Inverdale received a Doctor of Letters honorary degree from the University of Southampton in July 2001. He was awarded an honorary fellowship to the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff (UWIC) in November 2009.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Inverdale lives in Kingston upon Thames, southwest London with his wife and two daughters.[8] He made national news in 2005 when his face appeared in many newspapers showing the scars he received whilst playing rugby union for Esher.[9][10] He is a fan of both Southampton and Lincoln City football clubs.[11]


  1. ^ "John Inverdale Biography". Speakers Corner. Retrieved 13 July 2013. 
  2. ^ "TV presenter Inverdale signs up to save the Vulcan pub". Wales Online. Media Wales. 11 November 2008. Retrieved 11 November 2008. 
  3. ^ Sale, Charles (19 April 2012) Another Beeb loss. Mail Online,
  4. ^ a b c Patrick Sawer and Claire Duffin "Wimbledon 2013: BBC apologise for John Inverdale's 'Bartoli not a looker’ comment",, 6 July 2013
  5. ^ a b c d e "John Inverdale's Bartoli remark prompts Miller letter". BBC. 18 July 2013. Retrieved 26 August 2013. While chatting on air about Bartoli's technique as a player, Inverdale said: 'I just wonder if her dad, because he has obviously been the most influential person in her life, did say to her when she was 12, 13, 14 maybe, "Listen, you are never going to be, you know, a looker. You are never going to be somebody like a Sharapova, you're never going to be 5ft 11, you're never going to be somebody with long legs, so you have to compensate for that. You are going to have to be the most dogged, determined fighter that anyone has ever seen on the tennis court if you are going to make it," and she kind of is.' 
  6. ^ a b "John Inverdale 'has written to Marion Bartoli over remark'", BBC News, 7 July 2013
  7. ^ a b c d O'Carrell, Lisa (9 July 2013). "John Inverdale's Marion Bartoli comments 'wrong', says BBC news chief". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 July 2013. 
  8. ^ Lincolnshire Sports Awards 2012 – Our Presenter John Inverdale. Retrieved on 27 March 2013.
  9. ^ John Inverdale Exclusive: Rugby thug stamped on my head, 16 December 2005
  10. ^ Player cited over Inverdale 'stamping' The Telegraph, 21 December 2005
  11. ^ Quick-fire round: John Inverdale | Sport | The Observer. (10 February 2011). Retrieved on 27 March 2013.

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