BBC's lavish sporting rally humbled by Andy's pranged pool-side prize

It must have been agony for him. Worse than any debilitating injury or draining and dismal defeat. More than a full minute with a smile on his face holding a pranged Sports Personality Of The Year trophy will have been torture for Andy Murray - as indeed it was for the millions watching on TV.

Tuesday, 20th December 2016, 4:16 am
Updated Thursday, 29th December 2016, 2:01 pm
Andy Murray with the trophy after winning the 2016 Sports Personality of the Year Award at The Conrad Miami Hotel, Miami. Photo: Alberto Tamargo/BBC/PA Wire.

But apart from that cringe-worthy climax the show grows ever and more grand and lavish - an increasingly expensive parody of its former self.

What would Alan Weeks think?

What used to be a relatively modest TV gathering of back-slapping sports men and women is now an annual rally of Roman proportions.

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You know it’s nearly Christmas when you hear Claire Balding’s near-hysterical opening lines, get to see Lineker in a suit and Gabby Yorath in her underwear.

Rich, super-fit and glammed-up sports celebs fawning over each other, their every grin and grimace picked up by a myriad of cameras - what’s not to like?

But SPOTY is having something of a personality crisis.

Its heroic soundtrack, cinema-quality clips with huge production costs, a vast and docile audience - apart from a few Leicester fans - have become key elements in our annual national worshipping of sporting gorgeousness as it admires itself in a slightly flattering mirror.

The whole thing is starting to become an over-produced celebration of the BBC rather than of the sports personalities the show takes its name from.

Apart from the wonderfully-damaged winner’s trophy which looked like it must have been dropped poolside and hastily repaired with some silver paper from a fag packet.

Andy will get it fixed but not so sure he’ll ever recover from the 90-second fixed grin.

Jess Ennis was as immaculate as ever and Danny Willett as straight and open as he always is - though the beeb had to get the ‘made from Sheffield Steel’ cliche in.

But on the plus side the modern SPOTY shows more sportswomen on TV in one night than we saw in a season back in the old days.

We also see disabled athletes who’ve reached previously undreamed of heights of excellence and community awards to people who dedicate their lives to the service of others.

All in all it’s still a very good thing but there’s increasingly a whiff of modern media extravagance about it that palls a bit more every year.

Thank goodness for Andy’s excruciating grin and that ‘dropped’ trophy. Choreograph that.