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The tale of poor Ortis Deley
September 4, 2011 5:11 AM   Subscribe

Embarrassment alert: some would say Channel 4 hired the wrong man (Youtube) to host live coverage of the Athletics World Championships. The consensus seems to be that Channel 4 are to blame.
posted by nthdegx (50 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
.

For this poor man's career.
posted by imperium at 5:15 AM on September 4, 2011


Boom goes the dynamite, mate.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 5:19 AM on September 4, 2011 [6 favorites]


This is one of those videos where I cringe and turn it off about 30 seconds in.
posted by shii at 5:19 AM on September 4, 2011 [24 favorites]


So... we have a gloriously sunny day here... in the studio.
posted by doublehappy at 5:21 AM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


White anchors don't get fired after a few harmless blunders and anyone can be made to look foolish if their errors are mashed together without context.
posted by Renoroc at 5:31 AM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah. He was still shit, though.
posted by nthdegx at 5:33 AM on September 4, 2011


Also, this is magnificent:
Once we were covering Abu Hamza, I think it was, on his way to prison. We had a helicopter up, following this G4 prison van through the streets of London. I'd been talking for about half an hour and the van pulled over, the driver got out, went into a sweet shop, comes out with a packet of fags and lights up. It was the wrong van. Try extricating yourself from that on live TV."
Anyone happen to know if that's online somewhere?
posted by doublehappy at 5:34 AM on September 4, 2011 [7 favorites]


White anchors don't get fired after a few harmless blunders

Yes the do and they have.

And this is not a racial issue, the guy just sucked at announcing on live tv.
posted by lampshade at 5:39 AM on September 4, 2011 [23 favorites]


White anchors don't get fired after a few harmless blunders and anyone can be made to look foolish if their errors are mashed together without context.

Oh, come on. There's nothing about this that indicates racial bias. The guy clearly wasn't just making a few blunders but was totally lacking in any kind of commanding presence to carry a broadcast.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 5:40 AM on September 4, 2011 [5 favorites]


Give that poor man a teleprompter, for the love of jeebus.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 5:44 AM on September 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


Ugh, watching that nearly gave me a panic attack. I just can't handle people being awkward or nervous because it makes me feel the same. This is probably why I don't do (watching) reality TV contest shows well, I get too worked up.
posted by 1000monkeys at 5:44 AM on September 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


What I'm wondering is why the director continuously cuts back to the wide shot of him frantically reading off the script thats sitting in his lap as he fumbles over words looking helplessly at the camera?

Do they not have live-hits elsewhere they could have cut to? That broadcast didn't need to be as big of a shit show as it was if they had more competent folks sitting in their control room.
posted by Bron-Y-Aur at 5:50 AM on September 4, 2011 [8 favorites]


It's weird because he's really got the good guy vibe down. Like I'd want to buy him a drink in a 'awh sucks mate doesn't it?'

Course, being 'likeable' doesn't get you too far when, as a presenter, you'll meant to be bland and informative, not making people want to bite their sofa cushions out of embarrassment or quickly oh where's the remote change the channel.
posted by litleozy at 5:57 AM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't know, with lines like "And history in the making, as Oscar Pistorius from South Africa makes history." I think he could easily get a job doing NFL broadcasting. He shows significant potential to excel in the Madden/Gruden school of commentary.
posted by feloniousmonk at 5:59 AM on September 4, 2011 [6 favorites]


I am pretty sure this is what I sound like whenever I speak. Words are hard.
posted by jwhite1979 at 6:04 AM on September 4, 2011 [14 favorites]


How he ever got the gig is beyond me. He's a perfectly good presenter in the right setting. This wasn't it.

Broadcasting is a weird business. Being a live contributor is one thing - you're there because you're an expert and have something to say, and because you can say it in a way that sounds interesting. Presenting for a pre-recorded show is another; there are proper scripts, editing, retakes and time to prepare. Anchoring live events is a level above - you need all of the skills appropriate for the above plus a large helping of instant smarts and unflappability, which comes out looking like confidence. Because it is.

Some people have that sort of talent built-in, many more can learn it, over time, given support and appropriate opportunities. But most, including plenty who are good at the first two, won't.

All this has been known since the dawn of broadcasting time. How Channel 4 convinced itself that the rules didn't apply here, beats me.
posted by Devonian at 6:06 AM on September 4, 2011 [5 favorites]


The replacement is even worse, in my opinion. For a job that involves speaking to the audience and guests, you'd think they'd pick someone who can actually enunciate words. This fellow's only vowel is the noise you make when trying to swallow a pool ball, and only consonant is the glottal stop.
posted by nowonmai at 6:11 AM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


How is it that they didn't look at previous work, or train him a little? He seems to be reading from a hand-held script, not using a teleprompter. He was pretty bad for the 45 sec. I watched, but I'd also wonder what happened with the (lack of) direction.
posted by theora55 at 6:12 AM on September 4, 2011


Best signoff ever?
"So we have a gloriously sunny day here in the studio. We've seen some action this morning as well. Jessica Ennis. Good night."
posted by Tallguy at 6:14 AM on September 4, 2011 [10 favorites]


first talent-spotted as a contestant on Blind Date, had enjoyed a blameless career, mainly in children's and youth programmes on cable stations and at the BBC.

Hmmm. A reality TV show guy. Is this the future of news presenting?
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:16 AM on September 4, 2011


Oof, that's hard to watch.

His replacement, Rick Whatsisname is much better, but it seems odd that Channel 4 picked a presenter of kids programmes, who, as far as I can tell, has no experience presenting live broadcasts, then replaced him with another kids show presenter. You'd think that, I dunno, people with years of experience presenting live sport would've made more sense.

White anchors don't get fired after a few harmless blunders and anyone can be made to look foolish if their errors are mashed together without context.

Bullshit. Channel 4 probably has the best record in UK telly when it comes to employing non-white/ non-male/non-straight talent (to the extent that the channel is absolutely despised in right-wing circles).
posted by jack_mo at 6:16 AM on September 4, 2011 [5 favorites]


I think this just shows that being a talking head on the TV is...

*loses place in notes, panics slightly because the camera's rolling*

*looks up. smiles awkwardly*

... is, In fact, quite more difficult than it appears. Not everyone has the talent.

Back to you Simon.
posted by three blind mice at 6:32 AM on September 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


He called Oscar Pistorius, the South African double-amputee "the fastest man on no legs".

it's not okay that this is hilarious, is it?
posted by Countess Elena at 6:42 AM on September 4, 2011 [6 favorites]


Oh dear. Poor fellow. That's rough. Holy shit.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:50 AM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Once we were covering Abu Hamza, I think it was, on his way to prison. We had a helicopter up, following this G4 prison van through the streets of London. I'd been talking for about half an hour and the van pulled over, the driver got out, went into a sweet shop, comes out with a packet of fags and lights up. It was the wrong van. Try extricating yourself from that on live TV."
The van was being driven by Cigarette Smoking Man! They did a switch! And look! According to the time stamp on the live video, we've lost 8 minutes! How deep does this Abu Hamza conspiracy go?

You've got to be quick on your feet when doing live TV.
posted by Sonny Jim at 6:51 AM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think this is what it would be like if Jez from Peep Show became a sports anchor.
posted by KokuRyu at 6:53 AM on September 4, 2011 [5 favorites]


Yep, Channel 4 bend over backwards to entice more disabled, non-white and working-class people into TV, and that's brilliant.

Hmmm. A reality TV show guy. Is this the future of news presenting?

Blind Date wasn't a 'reality show' as such, it was a quiz game. It aired long before reality TV became what we know it as today. I just about remember this guy on kids' TV - I was slightly too old for his stint - and he seems likeable enough. Remember Krishnan Guru-Murthy started as a kids presenter on Newsround, even if kids' news presenters still have to be trained journalists.

Plus, both Simon Mayo and Nicky Campbell started out as pop DJs on Radio 1 and now present news-based shows on the BBC's news and sport radio station, Five Live.

Though Ortis reminded me somewhat of this. He was definitely the wrong guy for the job. Literally.
posted by mippy at 7:00 AM on September 4, 2011


It does seem like they let him be more of a excruciating trainwreck than was necessary, they could have helped him out a lot more with better direction...but he's no Murray Walker...
posted by biscotti at 7:20 AM on September 4, 2011


Painful. Felt very sorry for the guy. But if I were a double amputee who had worked my way up to Olympic-level speeds, I would love to be know as "the fastest man on no legs".
posted by benito.strauss at 7:23 AM on September 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


He shows significant potential to excel in the Madden/Gruden school of commentary.

Do you mean this guy, right here?
posted by King Bee at 8:04 AM on September 4, 2011


White anchors don't get fired after a few harmless blunders and anyone can be made to look foolish if their errors are mashed together without context.

All the blunders seem to have taken place within the context of just 3 shirts...he is not a talented broadcaster.
posted by therubettes at 8:15 AM on September 4, 2011



White anchors don't get fired after a few harmless blunders and anyone can be made to look foolish if their errors are mashed together without context.

Yeah, let's make this about his race!
posted by Liquidwolf at 8:44 AM on September 4, 2011


Bah, every weekday afternoon I am subjected to a radio newsreader who struggles with odd and obscure words such as Berlusconi, Wananesa*, and And. She is so terrible, I pray for her to get fired (And I'm atheist). Yeah, these things reflect poorly on management, who should know what their talent is and isn't capable of, but the talent should also be aware of their limitations and not take the gig if they can't hack it.

*Pronounced Wawa-neesa, you might think it's a tricky word, but in this neck of the woods, it's the name of a well-known isurance company.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:58 AM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Deley is a charismatic studio presenter. But what he has to contend with would be too much for nearly anyone - new team, new topic, new format (live, rather than studio). Combined with some pretty unsympathetic direction it is hard to see how we could have done it well.

On top of that, like the Pistorius joke, he's tried to play the funny man card without earning either the audience's respect or gained their familiarity. In someone else's mouth, those quips would likely have been read as a sign of cleverness, not stupidity.

He'll survive this to carry on presenting the Gadget Show. The fault is Channel 4's: the team have they have, with the notable exception of Michael Johnson, is not high quality and has struggled to make an impact.
posted by MuffinMan at 9:10 AM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't think his issue is skill set of being on live TV, but rather that he has no idea about the subject. He just seemed so ill prepared. He is obviously not a track fan.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:14 AM on September 4, 2011


Oh...... and that's a bad miss.
posted by schmod at 9:21 AM on September 4, 2011 [10 favorites]


But if I were a double amputee who had worked my way up to Olympic-level speeds, I would love to be know as "the fastest man on no legs".

I'd go around telling people that I could only win from here on out, because I'd already been defeated.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 9:35 AM on September 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


it seems odd that Channel 4 picked a presenter of kids programmes, who, as far as I can tell, has no experience presenting live broadcasts, then replaced him with another kids show presenter

Maybe someone in management trying to prove a kids show presenter can do this, hence it's not their fault their first pick could not?
posted by Dr Dracator at 11:01 AM on September 4, 2011


James Richardson would like a word. When presenting Football Italia he went from doing genuinely funny pun-laden bi-lingual links and highlights packages to one of the worst d├ębuts ever seen on live TV. I believe at one point he forgot the name of his co-presenter the teams who were playing and the stadium they were in

The cry of anguish which he whimpered when they finally cut back to the match commentators is something which I will never forget. He seemed utterly bemused as to why his normal intelligence and wit had completely deserted him.

He got better and is now considered one of the best presenters around. If anyone has a copy of those first few shows he did then they could splice together a YouTube video which would have Otis feeling a lot better about himself.
posted by fullerine at 11:38 AM on September 4, 2011


It amazes me that anyone can speak coherently on live TV. My hat is off to those who can be witty and insightful as well as stringing a basic sentence together.
posted by WPW at 11:58 AM on September 4, 2011


Of course, everything seems bad if you remember it!
posted by Gilbert at 12:21 PM on September 4, 2011


"So we have a gloriously sunny day here in the studio."

That line cracked me up. Poor man.

It's also in his delivery. Sports commentators say stupid things all the time, but the trick is to be sublimely unconscious of your stupid things and just keep on 'splaining (women do it, too).

For reference material, Ortis should watch the ESPN coverage of the 2004 World Cup.
posted by winna at 1:13 PM on September 4, 2011


See?! I did it, too! It was the 2006 World Cup!
posted by winna at 1:15 PM on September 4, 2011


I think this Pakistani reporter's struggles are appropriate to link here. Better if you know a bit of Hindi/Urdu, but not essential.
posted by vidur at 1:24 PM on September 4, 2011


Obligatory Dodgeball reference.
"F'n A, Cotton!" tragically not available on Youtube.
posted by range at 2:26 PM on September 4, 2011


Hard to watch. I really want to like this guy. Don't know why. He just seems so earnest.
posted by SPrintF at 3:57 PM on September 4, 2011


He's bad, but he's not that bad. Seems just like a matter of practice....or lack thereof. He's got a great broadcaster's voice for one thing. I hope he makes a comeback.

I'm a teacher, and have been for about ten years. When I first started teaching, I frequently sounded like that. I'd be calm, then panic, then calm down again, then PANIC. A vicious cycle in front of 35 people, I can only imagine what it's like in front of millions. Now that I've had lots and lots and lots of teaching experience and practice, the panic attacks have gone away. For the most part; every now and then I'll lose my train of thought, or more often, what killed with six other classes suddenly bombs with this one class, and I have to scramble around to fix the damage. It sucks, and the flopsweat rears its ugly head, and you know the class is a wash, but you barrel through anyway.
posted by zardoz at 4:59 PM on September 4, 2011


Really? The consensus seems to be he's a complete wanker who was in over his head.
posted by bardic at 6:43 PM on September 4, 2011


Wow, I love this guy. He does enunciate a whole hell of a lot better than I.
posted by BurnChao at 12:03 AM on September 5, 2011


Damn, the link is dead now.
posted by Elmore at 3:32 PM on September 23, 2011


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