The John Watson Story

The Eurosport Dream Team Ben Edwards (left) and John Watson 1996

II. "Mr.Eurosport"

Those of you that have never experienced one of John Watson´s enthralling Eurosport F1 commentaries, should, without hesitation, refer to my Watson-Sample-Site , just to make absolutely clear what I am writing about. Heinz Prueller in "Grand Prix Story 1995" about Wattie: "In most people`s opinion John Watson improved himself enormously at Eurosport. Starting off rather dry, becoming more and more passionate, he is now a genuine professional.: "This is no longer an ex race driver simply chatting away, it's a TV-Superman who just happened to have raced in the past." Looking back, Will Dungl occasionally added some oats to John´s breakfast, "to make him more aggressive similar to a race-horse" - has he repeated that procedure ?" Anyone who had appreciated Wattie during his active career as much as the writer of these lines did, was naturally thrilled about his F1 comeback behind the micro. Hardly anybody had reckoned with the Irishman´s capabilities regarding TV presentations. He is simply brilliant. Watson has the ability to accommodate more information in 30 seconds than any other F1 commentator I know of. In an extremely fast sport such as F1, absolutely essential. It is great fun to be carried away by his enthusiasm - for him, working within the F1 circus is not merely a job, it is much more an occupation he thoroughly enjoys, and that is evident during every second of his presentation.

John Watson next to Johnny Herbert Before John Watson´s commentary was transmitted into German living rooms, TV viewers were forced to persevere through the dark ages of RTL-Willy-Knupp-misery. Then Eurosport showed the world how F1 ought to be covered. The difference in quality compared to RTL is gigantic. Initially, Watson commentates together with Allard Kalff, (who also races Touring Cars) then later with Ben Edwards. In 1997 Eurosport concedes the F1 TV rights to RTL. A broadcasting company whose greed for money is seconded only by the dullness of its F1 commentators, takes total command of the (German) Free-TV monopoly. A quote from a letter to the Editor of Motorsport Aktuell (MSA) "What a setback in quality". Another: "We really should raise money in order to finance German lessons for John Watson !" At the G.P. in Spa in 1997 fans drastically showed their disapproval (does anyone know them?) by holding up a banner in front of the RTL commentary booth: "Take the microphone away from Jochen Mass !" Mass may have been a fairly good F1 driver (see also my Spa-Story) but as a commentator he is just as useless as the former Robinson Club entertainer Heiko Wasser, or the king of mediocre within the Kingdom of the RTL-F1 studios, Florian Koenig. Alone the Mass - substitute, (at long last someone realised!) and former F1 / Indy Car driver Christian Danner has finally managed to introduce some quality to the RTL F1 coverage.

Nowadays the TV situation is as follows: Either one puts up with RTL and subsequently bears TWENTY-ONE minutes of commercials during every race (which is a cheek considering their slogan: We´ll show you, which surely drives tears to every F1 enthusiasts` eyes). Or one is forced to watch the event on Premiere Pay TV, at a price, albeit with really good commentary by Marc Surer. Fortunately, his Premiere - colleague has improved considerably

My tip to all owners of satellite receivers is the Italian broadcasting station RAI, who show all F1 races enciphered but still recognisable - ideal during those monstrous RTL commercial breaks. However, as far as the dreadful RTL commentary is concerned, I still have no alternatives. So if you have any ideas, please send me an email. Eurosport present the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) where one can still enjoy the luxury of John Watson-commentary (status 14.5.1999).

Update (status 18.3.2002): John Watson and Ben Edwards are back in the commentary booth: This time for Sky-Digital. Known as "Sky" over here where you will find information on how to receive this digital satellite programme, (thanks go to Sebastian for the tip !). Unfortunately, it is very, very expensive ! Here are the brand new Watson & Edwards samples!




Back to my Homepage I. "Watties" eventful Formula One days II. "Mr.Eurosport" III. His Formula One Cars
IV. John Watson Gallery
V. Appendix