TV Review: ITV was the one to watch for the Euro 2020 final

Euro 2020 final TV Review: BBC master montages but ITV coverage was the one to watch the final as they boasted the true heavyweights of the tournament in Roy Keane and Gary Neville

  • It’s rare BBC and ITV go head-to-head for 35 million eyes for an event 
  • BBC’s coverage mastered the art of montage but lacked the heavyweights
  • Emma Hayes was insightful while  Ian Wright and Roy Keane entertained

‘Shouldn’t you be at church? We’re all praying tonight. They’ve been answered so far.’ Oh, Uncle Gary. Oh, Auntie Beeb.

An opening line 55 long years in the making. Goosebumps.

This was uncharted territory for an England generation, and for our broadcasters. It’s rare they have a near-blank canvas. And rare to go head to head for 35million pairs of eyes. The BBC had a 10-minute headstart, beginning at 6.20pm. No adverts? No problem. Cue the montage(s). 

ITV’s coverage of the Euro 2020 final between England and Italy was the one to watch

The BBC’s coverage mastered the art of montages but ITV boasted the true heayweights

So much of this tournament has been played out in slow motion. And on Sunday Raleigh Ritchie’s Stronger Than Ever was the soundtrack to the first images of England goals and flabby stomachs in the stands. Lineker had his ‘own Three Lions’ — Alan Shearer, Frank Lampard and Rio Ferdinand.

But credit to ITV — unlike the Beeb, they immediately addressed the idiots storming Wembley. A depressing start but it was important they used live footage and first-hand testimony from one of the poor stewards.

They also mentioned Italy. For a time on Auntie, it was easy to forget there were two teams playing. At least Lineker and Co mastered the montages.

Roy Keane had his coffee spilled by Gary Neville during the studio celebrations for Luke Shaw

There were numerous moving packages — on ’66, this class of ’21 and The Impossible Job (featuring Messrs Eriksson, Capello and Hodgson). ITV had vintage Gabriel Clarke. And Frankie Dettori.

Flicking between the two channels provided a who’s who of talking heads — Jurgen Klinsmann, Sir Geoff Hurst, Alessandro Nesta.

But ITV boasted Euro 2020’s heavyweights: the insightful Emma Hayes, Ian Wright — singing (and dancing) along to Sweet Caroline — and Roy Keane, who interrupted celebrations of Luke Shaw’s goal by ensuring his cup of tea didn’t end up skywards like pints up and down the land.

Unfortunately, as Lineker said a few channels away: ‘This comes with a warning. This is England.’

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