Perry looking Perilous?

Brought to you by Adam Macdonald

Some acts are near impossible to follow due to the constant comparisons to the predecessor in that position. One example that springs to mind is the largely unenviable position David Moyes finds himself in at Manchester United. Whilst most would jump at the opportunity to manage what is arguably the biggest club in the world, doing so after the most successful manager ever will always be, at best, daunting.

It really becomes a matter of how you are willing to market yourself then. Moyes must create his own image, and try not to follow the formidable footsteps of Sir Alex Ferguson. This is something that the new BBC Formula One anchor, Suzi Perry, has failed to do thus far. 7 races into the new season and she has failed to follow up on the entrance she made into the role, as seen below.

David Coulthard looks sincerely unimpressed by the end, which is obviously for effect on the video, but does have some relevance in reality. The Scot has appeared sincerely unimpressed by the lack of impression Perry has made on the role. Jake Humphrey acted as the glue for the dynamic trio of himself, Coulthard and the loose cannon that is Eddie Jordan. Perry lacks the knowledge of the sport and the authority over the two experts.

Her appointment is all the more strange given the fact she quit Moto GP, a largely European (Italian and Spanish) dominated sport, because she could not take the travelling and stresses that it put on her. It’s lucky the Supremo that is Bernie Ecclestone is not looking to move the sport into emerging markets, and away from Europe; oh wait!

Then there is the problem of branding. Being the glamorous, leather clad, sexy icon does not work in the world of F1. Looks alone will not get you the respect required for a prolonged career. Competing with the image of the dazzling F1 grid is a fruitless task, something that Georgie Thompson found out at the end of last year.

Sky Sports F1 The F1 Show 03-23 17-10-52

Perhaps 7 races is too shorter time to judge Perry on, especially given the act she is following. However, for me, Lee McKenzie would have been the sensible choice to take over the lead role. She is underutilized, and really has a right to feel aggrieved at not getting Perry’s position.

So what now for Perry?

Of course her knowledge of the sport will increase as time goes by, so continuing to study the sport is essential. An example of someone who does very well in her role is Natalie Pinkham, for SKY F1. The Buckinghamshire born presenter gives herself a different trademark. One such example of this is the jet-ski feature of the show for the Monaco GP, as seen in the video below. Set aside from the fact that the BBC do not have the resources to do such a feature, it would not work for the image of Perry.

As Pinkham does not define herself by the sexy image that Perry does, basing herself on actual knowledge instead, it gives her more flexibility to adapt to different situations.

It would appear that now the only option for Suzi Perry is to base herself more on F1 knowledge, than on the smouldering look that she gives DC each race weekend. Jake Humphrey talked of how he got in contact with Steve Ryder before he started the BBC role. Ryder’s advice was that ‘you will never have enough knowledge compared to the experts.’ Therefore, the only option for the anchor is to make sure they get on well with experts. Therefore, keeping DC happy is of paramount importance.

It certainly does not help having Jake Humphrey, a still very recognisable presenter criticising F1 this season. He weighs in with his opinions on this season’s tyres, then continues by talking about his relationship with DC and Eddie Jordan in an interview with the Metro, stating, “What I am missing is the friendship and the comradeship with David Coulthard. It was genuine, we see each other away from the races and we’re going on holiday this summer to Eddie Jordan’s villa in Spain.

I guess Perry’s invite must have been lost in the post.

If Suzi Perry fails to build the kind of rapport that Jake Humphrey built up, then her stay in F1 could be a short one, and she could be left trawling back to the Italian and Spanish dominated Moto GP season sooner than she had planned.

38 responses to “Perry looking Perilous?

  1. If she goes back to moto gp. she will be very rich.
    Don’t forget that by sport has exclusive rights in the UK. (Nothing on BBC or eurosport) for the 2014 season.

    Bt seem to be throwing everything to there respective coverage of there sports. Don’t be suprised to see Toby and Jules from eurosport going to bt as well. With Parrish as maybe expert analysis.

    That frees up Charlie cox. Has been the expert as co commentator in btcc in 97. Will it transfer to f1 if they use dc as a pundit only. Or if he joins sky next year. (wouldn’t blame him. Jumping a sinking ship.)

    Seems BBC is lackingin coverage. 45 minute build up to Canada vs skys 90.
    Wander what the coverage will be like for Silverstone. I saw a graphic on ssn that led me to believe there is a full days uninterupted coverage from before fp1 till after fp2. That’s a good 6 hours coverage there. I hope the BBC pull there socks up quick.

  2. Great article, excellent assessment. Was wondering how long it would take before her lack of basic knowledge started to grate. Those in charge at the Beeb should get their priorities right, show some respect, taking both the sport and its ardent fans seriously. Being a clothes horse with a party-girl attitude falls far short of what’s required … whoever’s in that priveliged position must demonstrate a passion for the sport. A real pity Jake moved on.

    • A bit harsh ‘clothes horse…’ but I understand where you’re coming from.

      Jake was a little fortunate as he began when BBC took the rights from ITV – and people were just happy with no adverts – plus the Beeb upped the pre-race content on the time ITC had been prepared to offer.

      Anyway great to hear from you Phillip

      • Suzi Perry along with SKY taking half the live races have wrecked one of the best fun bits of the weekend – The Forum

      • To be honest I really didn’t like Jake at the beginning, but he did get better, so maybe Ms Perry just needs a bit of time to find her boots. Having said that I’m still perplexed as to why Ms McKenzie was never promoted to do this job.

        • +1
          And thejudge is right, Jake grew into the job as the BBC was growing into its F1 format — Suzie doesn’t have that luxury. This said, I was never very convinced by Jake anyway… Suzie still needs time and she’s been good in some of the races — highlight only Grand Prix at BBC doesn’t seem to be a very comfortable format for either her, EJ or DC yet.

      • IPery & Jordan are disasters. Consider one Louise Goodman who did stirling and very natural looking work previously on F1 and does a wonderful job now on British Touring Cars (if indeed a woman is needed). Lee is not great and does not have authority. Both lead presenters currently concentrate on personalities and rumour – very tabloid.

  3. The beeb seem to be lost in their current F1 presentations. Jake was an excellent front man, not claiming to be an expert – he had two to rely on, but was an expert in fronting a programme, demonstrated during the Olympics for example, a role with which Suzi seems to be having a problem, despite her motorcycle racing TV experience. The BBC production has far too many people with very little input. They should give more air time to Gary Anderson; he has a real nack of explaining the intricate wonders of the F1 car and team strategies to a wide audience, without baffling the not-so-sure while not patronising the fans who (think they) know the technical side.

    The loss of F1 and other major sports to pay-to-view TV is not only a loss to the fans, it must be a real loss to the associated sponsors and advertisers, as the audience on pay-to-view has often been demonstrated to be much less than “free” networks such as BBC and ITV. I cannot (will not) afford Sky and have not got the broadband bandwidth for BT Sport, so maybe I will subscribe to Joe Saward’s Grand Prix + on-line mag in addition to reading this blog in the future?

    • Although I cannot comment on this particular issue as we neither get ITV nor BBC in the Fatherland, we do however have a unique comparison between pay-TV and free-TV coverage as both exist parallel for all races.
      You have the choice watching in on free RTL or on Sky and pay for it.

      RTL is a typical private broadcaster, meaning they’ll be constantly harassing you with inane commercial propositions throughout coverage. They also only show the qualifying and the race with a summary of 3rd FP. Not to mention they’re an incessant Vettel-Rah-Rah machine, which is extremely annoying.

      Sky coverage is largely free from ads and shows all sessions. And at something like 20 bucks a month if you subscribe to the sport channels only it’s not like you’re paying through your nose in blood.

      Nearly all self-respecting German F1 fans I know, have subscribed to Sky sports instead of suffering through RTL’s commercials, which are occasionally interrupted by a bit of car racing and Vettel worshiping.
      Most of them do not subscribe to anything, but Sky Sports though, as the rest of Sky’s offerings is completely useless, unless you need dedicated “Bavarian oompha music” channels or church channels, which show rabid TV-preachers from Americaland all day, who scream and cry that god will rip off your family jewels, if you don’t hate Jews and Homosexuals or engage in sexual intercourse for any other reason, but making more Christian fundamentalists.

      • As far as I can tell, in the UK, Sky Sports is only available as an add-on to an entertainment package. F1 appears to be only available free with an HD Sports package otherwise it is also extra. I am sure others who subscribe to Sky can clarify. The overall cost in the UK is about £40 per month, not “20 bucks”! However I won’t go on as the topic is about presenters, not which TV station.

      • Well, to be fair if all Europe hadn’t offshored their religious fundamentalists in the 17th and 18th century but had dealt with them properly, you might not have to be exposed to such things. ; -)

        Here in ‘murica you have to pay for these channels whether or not you want them, which helps keep them in business quite frankly. For the most part the only reason I pay for cable (there is basically no such thing as “free TV” over here anymore) is for live sports coverage. If the option existed to watch a la carte just the shows I was interested in (it moslty does, exception being, naturally, live sports), that would be nice indeed. And it may be coming, but will be fiercely resisted by our current Corporate Overlords.As it is, you pay buckets of money and still get stuck with the adverts (last Quali 2 we missed minutes 10-6 for adverts, when all the interesting times happened).

        My cautionary tale is to do with boxing, as I used to watch every Sunday with my Dad great fights, including Ali and Foreman. Then boxing went to the Pay per View model, and we started watching other sports instead. Now, I couldn’t tell you who was Champion of What nor do I care. The move to subscription risks alienating large numbers of fans in this particular environment, and you are fortunate that, no matter how bad, at least you still have free options available to you. A shrinking audience will kill F1 in a way no other amount of spectacularly incompetent management will. Charging loads to view content is the best way to kill your audience, period.

    • Just learn p2p (uTorrent?) and I’m sure you’ll be able to watch SKYF1HD coverage of every race w/in 24hrs of it being run-off (and probably less). I would never share copyrighted material, though, nor would i ever encourage anyone else to break the law or violate IP…

  4. Perry ain’t great but it’s still early. Even with Jake he could get up to speed much quicker when he started because BBC then had all the extra airtime of longer live races and all Forums after the race. Perry so far has only done a couple of full live weekends.

    As for Pinkham. I think she is one of the worst if not the worst presenter on TV. Don’t know how anyone can take her seriously. She makes Georgie Thompson look like David Frost.

    • Seems a tad unfair on Natalie. Especially given Anthony Davidson was like a horny school child whilst around Georgie Thompson.

  5. Perry is an anchor, as was Jake H.

    In both cases, BBC’s rationale was NOT to have an expert.

    The two experts who assist the anchor are there precisely because they are experts, the non-expert anchor needs to have an interest and a little understanding of the sport but is there to ask simple/stupid questions that will assist the not-so knowledgeable viewer.

    Jake H is a hard act to follow – he is a likeable character who can get away with childish rougeish cheeky behaviour.

    No one currently on the British TV sport circuit can match Jake H, but in my view the next best anchor for F1 would have been Clare Balding.

    Please don’t ever give the anchor job to Lee McKenzie or Natalie Pinkham. Lee and “how was it out there” type of questions bore me to death. Her fixed grin/smile and waddle walk does nothing to add to her charm.

    • “Perry is an anchor, as was Jake H.
      In both cases, BBC’s rationale was NOT to have an expert.”

      PKing – the problem, though, is that Perry is not a very good anchor. That, and there is no chemistry b/w her and the other two, PLUS she notoriously slagged off F1 in the most vile terms during her motogp tenure, and now we’re supposed to take her seriously and even like her when she’s working in the same sport she said was crap? pffft!

  6. I don’t like Suzi Perry at all, she always gives the impression that she’s lost out there. But that’s just me, she’s probably trying her best and I can’t really be bothered listening to her. Gary Anderson adds some interesting thoughts whenever he can, shame he doesn’t get more air-time.

    Not saying that Lee McKenzie would have done a better job (well, obviously we won’t know), but promoting from within would have been a more sensible choice, rather than just parachuting Perry, who’s a plain outsider.

  7. I agree as well this was a great article and I’m glad to finally see some serious critical energy dedicated to debunking the myth that Perry is doing an OK – or even acceptable – job.

    Jake might be a hard act to follow, but Perry doesn’t even have an act to follow with! She’s outta her League! You’re fired!

  8. Suzi Perry’s glamour era was in the 90s. If she now hopes to bank her hopes on staying around due to her “sex appeal” she is sadly mistaken.

    Mutton dressed as lamb. Almost zero F1 knowledge and no added value.
    Spoke to Bernie Ecclestone as if she was visiting a relative with amnesia in one of Duncan Bannatyne’s old people’s homes.

    Embarassing on every level. Chirping in and interrupting endlessly. She is the last person that I want to hear speak.

    I wish I had studied employment law. I would have offered my services to Lee M to take the BBC to a tribunal.

    Pinkham does a very decent job. She seems to be a rising star.

  9. I don’t usually get to see any of these people [in my ‘area’] so I can’t make personal nor individual comments but I do understand ‘broadcasting’ and there is a fundamental need for professionalism at all levels which does not require a long period of time to ‘settle in’. It has little to do with how good the previous incumbent was but simply whether the new person shows any potential, after no more than two or three races, to even basically do the job – and to improve.
    There used to be a belief, within the BBC especially, that many people were promoted one level above their own level of competence, mainly because the promoters were themselves already one level too high to realise… In this instance the criticism should perhaps be levelled at executive producer, HoD, or even Controller level.
    But maybe someone who complains about a job because it involves too much foreign travel is hardly ideal for such a promotion. Maybe Gardeners’ World would have been a better option… 😉

  10. Sorry to say but Suzi was lamentable at the British GP. She was completely lost for words much of the time, spending more time checking her tablet and listening to the ear piece. Really thought Edie and David were being as supportive as they could but can see and hear their frustration. I get fed up with David going on about the tyres in his monotone and always listen to 5 Live commentary.

    Some of the interviews Suzi holds are like being interviewed by your mother. What appears to be paramount is that colleagues and drivers alike do not have that respect they demonstrate for others.

    So easy to criticise, so those are observations. Sometimes people are out of their depth, lightweight even and I am afraid Suzi is in that position. Maybe she will recognise that and look to move into other areas or back to Moto GP, where she held her own.

    As for the right team mix, well that will always be a matter of personalities, talent and knowledge so Gary and Lee for sure, Eddie as long as he wants, David, questionable but he really is growing into the pundit thing BUT stop talking about tyres or at least make it interesting.

    Serious review needed at the Beeb. How about a simultaneous commentary with 5 live commentary on the tv pictures, that’s what I do anyway and it is far more exciting but not quite like the legend that is Murray.

    • Welcome Adrian. Good to hear from you.

      I’m afraid I couldn’t agree more. I do the 5 live commentary now, after getting hacked off with both Sky and the BBC.

    • Did find it very funny how she gravitated towards the only MotoGP related person on the grid for an interview.

  11. People, perhaps I can sum all of this up for you in a few points:

    1. In MotoGP Suzy was hero worshipped by not only the fans but she was also seriously respected by the riders and organisers, basically she loved(s) MotoGP and was (is) very knowledgeable about the subject so therefore delivered a very polished and confident presentation style and format, the exact opposite of what she is doing on F1.

    2. For many reasons, including the fact that she was asking to be paid what she was worth, the “guys on the show” felt she was becoming “bigger” than the program (and was obviously more popular than they were) and when the BBC outsourced the production to a third party (who were not prepared to pay Suzy what she should have been), she was dropped.

    3. When Jake left, the Beeb was gobsmacked as he was part of their long term sport plans (especially after the Olympics) but they could never match what he was being offered by BT Sport, so they lost him.

    4. When looking for a replacement, Suzy’s name was mentioned as the show’s new producers had worked with her on MotoGP and loved her style and knowledge.

    5. In a nutshell, in the mind’s of the powers that be, they equated MotoGP=racing=F1 but they got it so wrong, she is a brilliant presenter and a wonderful human being but Suzy in F1 is like a fish out of water.

    It will prove very difficult to drop Suzy as the outcry from just about the whole motorsport spectrum will be a mighty backlash against the BBC. The fact that it is hurting her career will possibly be the only way that they can get out of the hole they have dug themselves in that she may leave/move on voluntarily, only time will tell. Remember she does not know the drivers like she did (does) with the MotoGP boys who she all had on speed-dial. In fact they used to fit in with her schedule when she wanted interviews or comments, try that with one of our current primadona F1 crop. JB and MW are about the only two who both know and respect her, curiously (not) both are known MotoGP fans!

    • Hi Graham, good to see you on here. Good insight as well.

      Quick question though, what about Lee McKenzie as a anchor presenter? Lee has the rapport with the drivers and, from what Dr Gary Hartstein said, it is really difficult to break into the world of F1 and gain trust. Given he is a doc but still.

      It seems most people (including me) thought Lee would have been a great person for the job.

    • Suzy Perry in the F1 world is exactly as you say, ‘a fish out of water.’ She would be better suited to a Jennie Gow type role, but obviously would not want it.

      And as far as the BBC goes, they were in a dream world if they thought Jake would not seek bigger and better things, especially given the fact they only have 9 live races this season.

  12. Jesus Graham Harris doesn’t half like a rant….a man with SFA to be doing if ever there was one! I still love Georgie….that Jake beanpole was an idiot best suited to people running around in circles rather than cars. SKY rules…..except that cutie is missing!

  13. Just watched the Japanese grand Prix live on the been.

    Please bbc bosse’s sack Suzy perry and give the job to the ‘sparkly’ Lee mckenzie! I’m done, nothing more to say here.

  14. ‘Vacuous’ Suzi Perry should be culled, Eddie ‘Berk’ Jordan retired and ‘Dull’ Dave Coulthard should be sent for a charisma implant, though not at BBC licence payer’s expense thank you.

    Lee McKenzie should have had the gig and Gary Anderson is an excellent addition.

  15. Pingback: David Coulthard – The gem in the BBC’s disintegrating #F1 crown | thejudge13·

  16. Lee Mckenze has both the looks and the knowledge who is blind at the BBC.
    Further more, since it is run with our money who said ‘ give-in to SKY, we did’nt. For God’s sake wake up.

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