Legendary rugby commentator to retire after 46 years at BBC

David Prior's picture
by David Prior

BBC radio commentator Ian Robertson is to retire at the end of this year after 46 years as sports commentator for the broadcaster.

The announcement comes during the Six Nations Rugby Championship which will be former Scotland fly half Robertson’s last time behind a mic for European rugby’s showpiece tournament. His final commentary for the BBC will be during the Autumn Internationals later this year.

On Saturday 24th February, he will commentate on Scotland v England in the Six Nations game for Radio 5 live at Murrayfield, exactly 50 years after he made his international debut on the same ground and in the same fixture in the 1968 championship.

He joined the BBC in 1972, and since April 1983 he has been the broadcaster’s official rugby union correspondent.

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He said: “I remember my first ever broadcast for the BBC was actually reading out the horse racing results – that’s where everyone started – and I’ve had the privilege of covering every single Rugby World Cup since.

“It’s hard to choose my favourite moment as a broadcaster for the BBC as there have been so many highlights from over the years. From Scotland’s 1984 and 1990 Grand Slams, to Jonny Wilkinson’s 2003 World Cup-winning dropped goal, to interviewing Nelson Mandela in 1992 at a reception where press were banned – I’ve loved every minute of it.”

Barbara Slater, BBC Director of Sport, said “Ian’s sharp, instinctive and highly skilled commentaries have been a real privilege to hear on BBC Sport over the years and he has captured some of the greatest moments in rugby which will be talked about for years to come. In fact, in a poll on 5 live, Jonny Wilkinson’s dropped goal was voted as one of the top three greatest sporting commentaries of all time. We at BBC Sport will miss Ian and we wish him all the very best in his retirement.”