Two essentials of Wimbedon tennis: Strawberries, and the BBC. One of these stalwarts was not functioning too well.

29 June 2021 By Paul Martin

Wimbledon has started without the bulk of its usual spectator fans this year. Attribute that to the Covid pandemic.

The way most people watch Wimbledon has also been infected — by bugs in the BBC’s computer system. Or in its technology, at least.

On the second day of The Championships, as they are somewhat arrogantly called (no mention of British just ‘The’), the BBC backroom staff suddenly made their voices heard… while the actual match commentators were making their usual well-informed remarks.

Interferences, for example, included, telling the commentators their voices were coming in too loud or too soft.

This was then followed by not broadcasting any post-match interview with five-times singles champion Serena Williams, who we assume must have given one in the press room — it’s compulsory (as we know from the demise of women’s world number one Osaka a few weeks before, at the start of the French Open, the previous Grand Slam event).

Then the commentators, showing just an empty stadium, informed us excitedly that we would now be seeing another exciting match. Nothing happened. And despite announcing another match, that nothingness continued.

Eventually we got to see a back-court match involving a British woman.

Normal service was being restored. But for the BBC, doyen of Wimbledon broadcasters and as ubiquitous and reliable as strawberries and cream, this was very very abnormal.