Match of the Day will return to BBC One this Saturday night to rescue football fans craving a dose of familiarity as Gary Lineker, Alan Shearer and Ian Wright spearhead a new-look show during the coronavirus-enforced absence of sport.
Across the board sport events are being cancelled, with no football in England and Scotland until at least 30 April and all rugby union matches cancelled after the Rugby Football Union ended the season below the Premiership. The England and Wales Cricket Board is preparing to take action surrounding the county season, which is due to get underway next month, while all horse racing has also been suspended until May including the Grand National.
Further abroad, the first seven Formula One races of the 2020 season have been either postponed or cancelled.
As the coronavirus crisis took a hold of the nation last weekend, forcing all Premier League and English Football League fixtures to be cancelled, fans faced up to the prospect of no more Match of the Day highlights on a Saturday and Sunday night - a pain made all the more agonising by the presence of Mrs Brown’s Boys in its usual 10:20pm slot on BBC One.
However, the BBC have confirmed that something close to normality resumes this weekend, with the highlights show being transformed into a football discussion programme, with Lineker and guests set to debate a different ‘top 10’ every weekend.
Saturday night’s maiden show will see ex-footballers Lineker, Shearer and Wright select their top 10 premier League captains, running the rule over the likes of Roy Keane, Tony Adams, Vincent Kompany and maybe even Shearer himself.
But Match of the Day will be just one of four football programmes that the BBC is running this weekend, with the Saturday afternoon curtain-raiser Football Focus continuing as scheduled and two ‘FA Cup Classic’ shows added that draw on great quarter-final clashes of yesteryear - one on Saturday afternoon and one on Sunday.
The BBC has also announced a 10-strong list of new features added to BBC iPlayer, which can be viewed on demand.
This weekend’s schedule:
SATURDAY, 12.00pm, BBC One – Football Focus
Dan Walker introduces some of the best interviews and features from the season so far, including Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Juan Mata, Kyle Walker and Raheem Sterling. Also, the MOTDx crew select their Premier League team of the decade.
SATURDAY, 4.00pm BBC One - FA Cup quarter-final classics part one
Guy Mowbray unearths memorable games from the FA Cup's quarter-final, including Watford v Arsenal in 1987 and West Bromwich Albion v Nottingham Forest in 1978.
SATURDAY, 10.20pm BBC One – Match of the Day: Top 10
Premier League captains Match Of The Day’s Gary Lineker, Alan Shearer and Ian Wright bring their insight, wit and wisdom in the first visualised episode of their new podcast series. In episode one they debate the greatest captains of the Premier League era.
SUNDAY, 4.40pm BBC One - FA Cup quarter-final classics part two
Guy Mowbray unearths more memorable games from the FA Cup's quarter-final, including Everton v Ipswich in 1985, Derby v Sheffield Wednesday in 1993 and Man Utd v Portsmouth in 2008.
Football Going Vegan
Emiliano Sala: A family’s search for the truth
Shame In The Game: Racism in football
Football Stars in Bad Cars
Shane Williams: Rugby, concussion and me
Hunt v Lauda: F1’s Greatest Racing Rivals
Doddie Weir: One more try
Inside The Cage: The rise of female fighters
John McEnroe: Still rockin’ at 60