Pupils hone their skills as radio commentators

Manchester City Women's player Becky Abbott, left, is interviewed by pupil Callum Jones, 14.
Manchester City Women's player Becky Abbott, left, is interviewed by pupil Callum Jones, 14.

Students met athletes and top commentators at the launch of a national contest to find young people who could become the next voices of sport.

Pupils at Lowton CE High School got to try their hand at finding the right words to accompany clips of major events at the start of the Young Commentator of the Year competition.

Broadcaster John Murray, who has provided commentary for everything from FA Cup finals to the Olympic Games, was joined by rugby league players, footballers and cricketers to launch the BBC talent search.

Lowton was one of just six schools across the country to be selected to receive a visit from the BBC Radio 5 Live bus as part of the effort to find the next generation of microphone-wielding talent.

John, who can regularly be heard describing the Premier League action to millions of listeners, and the radio team gave a masterclass in how to cover events on the airwaves before letting a group of youngsters pick a clip and have a go themselves.

And the professionals said they were extremely impressed by the skills of the pupils.

John said: “There’s definitely quite a bit of talent in the borough. I went into assembly and there was one lad who had been picked out to do some commentary in front of the whole school. He was really impressive.

“We had a few different clips, including Theo Walcott’s goal in last season’s FA Cup Final, and we picked out the things they would need to do radio commentary on it.

“I told them to look our for details, such as what colours are they wearing and which way are they playing, the geography of where the match is so whether players are on the wing or in the left back position, and I also told them to give a bit of themselves, to think of something that only they would say.

“I’m one of the competition judges and I will also be looking for people who can think about the right words and paint a picture of what it’s like to be at an event, because that’s vitally important.”

Lowton CE High head Julian Pollard said: “Having the 5 live bus with us for the day gives the pupils a chance get some tips from the top and receive some invaluable career advice from people who work on a national radio station.

The Young Commentator of the Year contest is open to anyone aged 11 to 15 and entrants are asked to commentate on one of five clips. The winner gets to spend time with the radio station at MediaCity and working at a sporting event. The deadline for entries is May 7. To enter visit bbc.co.uk/youngcommentator.