As the BBC lurches from crisis to disaster and back again, the seasoned observer would surmise they have no one else to blame but themselves.

Whether it be the numerous sex scandals, cover-ups or dreadful decision-making, the magnificent Steve Wright is a point in question (whose demise followed hot on the heels of the Beeb’s unceremonious dumping of the legend of the airwaves).

It is now little more than a politically correct box-ticking entity whose remit is unclear: Maybe their actions are taken to divert attention away from Bashir, Westwood, Harris, Saville, and Edwards’ behaviour, as they instead use vehicles such as the Sports Personality of the Year to try, and ultimately fail, to redress the irreparable reputational damage they have self-inflicted.

SPOTY, which has been won in recent years by luminaries such as Mo Farah, Geraint Thomas and Emma Raducanu, had the Beeb box ticking in 2022 when the Lionesses, who have also now had a tube line named after them, won the women’s Euros. An admirable achievement, yes, but the SPOTY title won by Beth Mead had sports fans like yours truly, running off to Google who she was and what she had achieved.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Brett Ellis queries the winners of BBC SPOTYBrett Ellis queries the winners of BBC SPOTY

She saw off competition from legends of sport who have proved that longevity and global success count for little including Rory McIlroy, Frankie Dettori and Stuart Broad with, you guessed it, rocket Ronnie not even making the shortlist.

With 41 ranking titles and the ability to go southpaw when required, he is quite simply the most natural of sportsmen any sport has ever seen, as he continues to fight demons of self-doubt, nerves, anxiety, and self-worth. A record-equalling world champion seven times over, he recently won the UK championship for the eighth time, an amazing 30 years after he first lifted the title as the youngest-ever winner in 1993.

And so, with frequent trips to overcome mental health issues and addiction to the Priory, one would have thought he would ‘tick the box’ for the Beeb who continue to turn a blind eye to Lineker veering from his lane as a bog standard sports commentator into one of a political talking head, as they continually overlook the genius of those like O’Sullivan who sticks around like a bad smell, as they instead turn their heads and laud those with a less than impressive back catalogue, such as Mary Earp.

But no, this is not misogyny or an attack on the women’s game: good luck to Earp as winning such an accolade will do little but help her career and marketability.

Yet, ultimately, by adhering to this folly we are but celebrating adequacy as the true legends in our midst are overlooked as they are deemed too opinionated, controversial, or likely to heap scorn and derision on an institution that manages time and again to drag abject defeat from the jaws of victory.

  • Bret Ellis is a teacher.