Alison Mitchell (b.1980) is a freelance English sports broadcaster. She is the first woman to commentate regularly on the BBC's Test Match Special, and she is a reporter and commentator for BBC Radio 5 Live and Five Live Sports Extra. In March 2014, she was voted SJA Sports Broadcaster of the Year 2013 by members of the Sports Journalists' Association. She is also the first woman to have called men's cricket ball by ball on ABC Radio Grandstand in Australia.
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Mitchell began her broadcasting life with the BBC as a part-time broadcast assistant at BBC Radio Northampton while studying for A-levels at Wellingborough School, where she is a committee member of the Old Wellingburians. She played many sports at school, captaining the school tennis, netball and athletics squads.
She took a degree in geography at the University of Nottingham (dissertation entitled "The Impact of Television on the Cultural Geography of English Cricket" 1995–2000) and then trained in broadcast journalism at Falmouth College of Arts. She gained her first experience of live reporting on cricket, football and rugby at BBC Radio Cornwall before freelancing for BBC Radio Leicester.
Mitchell has worked across all BBC Networks, including Radio 5 Live, Radio 4, Radio 1, the Asian Network and the World Service. She also works in television, and has presented sport news for the BBC News Channel. She was Britain's first female cricket commentator, calling games ball by ball.
Mitchell specialises in cricket as part of the Test Match Special team, but she also covers major events for BBC Sport such as the Olympics, Commonwealth Games and Wimbledon. She also presents sport on the Today programme on BBC Radio 4. She spent many years as a sports news presenter for Radio Five Live and has also presented the sport for Radio One's Newsbeat, including a stint on the Chris Moyles Show.
She has covered England Winter cricket tours to Australia, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, New Zealand and South Africa; World Cups in India and the West Indies; World Twenty20s in Bangladesh 2014, Sri Lanka 2012, West Indies 2010, England 2009 and South Africa 2007, the ICC Champions Trophy, three Women's Cricket World Cups, the 2012 London Olympics, 2008 Beijing Olympics, 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, the Wimbledon, the French Open, Australian Open, four World Gymnastics Championships and two World Snooker Championships.
She commentated on Ireland's historic victory over Pakistan at the 2007 Cricket World Cup, and was the last person to interview Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer before his sudden death in the Pegasus Hotel in Jamaica. She reported on his death for all BBC Networks, and was the only BBC reporter in Kingston when police announced a murder investigation.
She made her full England commentary debut at the 2007 World Twenty20 in South Africa with Jonathan Agnew for Test Match Special (she seemed to get on well with summariser Ian Chappell when she mentioned that her mother is Australian). She then flew on to Sri Lanka to commentate on her first ODI series there.
She was part of England's winter tour to India, which was interrupted by the terrorist attacks in Mumbai. When the tour resumed, Mitchell got locked in the toilet during the tea interval of the Chennai Test.
She commentated for both BBC and ABC radio during the England men's ODI tour of Australia in January 2014, working with Jim Maxwell and Kerry O'Keefe. She also commentated for the ABC at the 2009 Women's Cricket World Cup Final in Sydney, which was won by England.
She was Radio Five Live's England reporter during the Cricket World Cup 2011, commentating on a number of World Cup matches for Test Match Special and following India through from the quarter finals to their eventual triumph in Mumbai.
Mitchell has presented sport for the BBC News Channel.
She made her TV cricket commentary debut in 2007, joining Jonathan Agnew, Sunil Gavaskar and Graham Gooch as part of the commentary team for the ODI between Scotland and India, which was shown live on ESPN and BBC Scotland, produced by Sunset and Vine.
Work outside of the BBC
- ESPN Star Sports: Commentator, ICC Women's World Cup 2013, Mumbai. Mitchell commentated alongside Shane Warne at the ICC Women's World T20 Final 2014 in Bangladesh for host broadcaster Star Sports.
- ABC Grandstand: Commentator, Australia v England ODI series 2014. Mitchell became the first woman to call men's cricket ball by ball on the ABC in Australia when she joined the team for the 3rd ODI at the SCG in January 2014. She was well received as a full member of the commentary team for the historic day/night Test match between Australia and New Zealand at the Adelaide Oval in November 2015, and rejoined the ABC for Pakistan's Test series against Australia in 2016-17.
She continued to cover the 2015/2016 Australia Pakistan series.
- Channel 4: Reporter, London 2012 Paralympics
- Sky Sports: Commentator, Netball Superleague, 2014
- BT Sport: Commentator, WTA Tennis, 2013
ESPNcricinfo: She has hosted the Alison's Tea Break series of interviews on ESPNcricinfo since May 2012. It appears regularly during overseas TV coverage in the tea break of home and away test matches, for example in May 2013 when she interviewed Tim Southee (prerecorded in Leicestershire and shown on the fourth day of the Lords test).
In June 2014 Mitchell hosted the ECB England Cricketer of the Year Awards at Lord's.
In October 2012 Mitchell was the floor reporter for the ICC's Cricketer of the Awards in Colombo, televised by host broadcaster ESPN Star Sports.
- Lennon and Samuel land SJA's major prizes Sports Journalists' Association, 24 March 2014
- Happy commentary on our times Daily Telegraph, 2 August 2007
- "Cricket gets global radio run in new programme Stumped on World Service". BBC.
- Bob Woolmer's death stuns cricket world ESPN Cricinfo, 18 March 2007
- Remembering affable Bob BBC Test Match Special, 19 March 2007
- "Woolmer: it was murder". The Guardian. 23 March 2007.
- Super security used to rescue BBC reporter locked in lavatory Mail Online, 13 December 2008
- Mitchell, Alison (7 February 2013). "Andy Flower and Henry Olonga, men who spelt out their love of Zimbabwe in black and white". The Times. Retrieved 5 November 2016.
- "The black armband protest". BBC. 7 February 2013.
- Alison Mitchell's Indian tour diary BBC Sport, 12 November 2008
- TMS – The Mitchell Show Episode 1 BBC Sport, 10 July 2009
- "Alison's Tea Break". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 19 May 2013.
- "'Doing well in this series will help us gain respect' – Tim Southee". 11 May 2013. Retrieved 19 May 2013.
- "Match-fixing hotline fails to send out the right message". The Times.
- "Sorry England admit Ajmal mind games affected performance".
- Mitchell, Alison (31 October 2012). "Kevin Pietersen makes frenetic return in England's game with India A". The Guardian.
- Alison Mitchell's Blog BBC Sport
- Personal website
- Biography BBC Press Office, August 2007
- TMS Blog from the Boundary and photographs BBC Sport
- TMS On The Road – Behind the scenes in Mohali BBC Sport, 17 December 2008
- Relive Classic TMS Ashes Moments BBC Sport, 6 July 2009
- BBC Radio 5 live recall England's Ashes win BBC Sport, 14 December 2009
- Documentary about pioneering African-American athlete Althea Gibson on BBC 1Xtra, 23 June 2009
- Chris Moyles Show Running Order BBC Radio 1, 1 May 2008