The ubiquitous Carlton Kirby

by ruffest   June 2, 2013  

An old chestnut, I know but... Argh! Why is Carlton Kirby determined to ruin my procycling enjoyment?! The man is everywhere. I cannot understand how he keeps getting work. To listen to his commentary is to hear a man drowning - the guesswork, the misidentifications, the tedious Partridge-esque turns of phrase, the needless shouting that does not inject excitement in the final... The way he 'wings it' reminds me of those psychic charlatans doing 'cold reading'. Anyone else would be preferable. Anyone. There are many other commentators who actually know what they are talking about. His co-commentators often sound embarrassed. I know I am. He makes watching almost unbearable. As each new race starts I pray it won't be him but increasingly often I am disappointed. Crying Sorry for venting but thanks for listening. I couldn't hold it in any more. Hearing his voice in the opening seconds of tonight's Dauphine coverage finally sent me over the edge Angry

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Carlton "He's not in a happy place" Kirby. I love his commentary but only with the sound turned off.......

posted by carlgrz [51 posts]
26th August 2013 - 17:32


He was truly awful today. Breakaway riders are 'breakers' (waves?), climbs are 'testy' (grumpy?) and a seatpost is a stem (wrong end Carlton). And if he tells us why Rodriguez is called Purito one more time...

posted by pjay [234 posts]
26th August 2013 - 21:45


I think he's great or would people prefer a monotone dictionary spouting nobody to commentate Thinking

There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [3070 posts]
26th August 2013 - 21:54


Monotone, no, someone with a bit of knowledge of the sport, yes.

posted by pjay [234 posts]
27th August 2013 - 18:36


Paris-Roubaix was destroyed by this man.

posted by Malaconotus [63 posts]
16th April 2014 - 22:03


Could be worse , anybody whose has heard any of the bt sport presenters who cover their football games should be thankful they have not got there mitts on cycling ! At Wits End

posted by trevisotart [19 posts]
16th April 2014 - 22:16


Every time he say's Pete Kennaugh's name he says it wrong in a different way.

Possibly the most annoying thing to ever happen to anything ever. >.<

Merlin Cycles women's race team ~
Manx nerd peddler ~

mooleur's picture

posted by mooleur [542 posts]
17th April 2014 - 9:07


Tell you who is really good, though, who's done a bit for ES recently - Rochelle Gilmore - genuinely great to listen to, her passion comes out in her commentary it's ace. Smile

Merlin Cycles women's race team ~
Manx nerd peddler ~

mooleur's picture

posted by mooleur [542 posts]
17th April 2014 - 9:08


There are too many Carlton's in cycling.

Carlton Reid's picture

posted by Carlton Reid [118 posts]
17th April 2014 - 9:33


Absolutely re Paris-Roubaix. I was fortunate enough to discover that the excellent Rob Hatch was commentating on Radio 5 Live Sports Extra to had that on the radio with the TV on mute Smile

I so hope Eurosport don't give Kirby the Tour.

From the tone of David Harmon's recent tweets, even though he is available for work now, Eurosport don't seem to want him Sad

posted by ruffest [8 posts]
17th April 2014 - 10:06


I like Carlton. I think they all do a good job of a tough job.

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1478 posts]
17th April 2014 - 10:30


Carlton's a knob, but he's quite amusing. I can't listen to Matt Stephens though, his reedy voice drives me insane. Big Maggy is the best of the Eurosport bunch by a country mile.

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posted by s_lim [150 posts]
17th April 2014 - 10:35


Kirby is not bad, and i quite like it when commentators have to scramble a bit to get a correct fact. It shows that they are human and not just reeling off scripted guff.

Think about how tough it is to get things right, especially early in the season.
Riders changing teams. Teams changing kit. Teams changing sponsors. Riders changing equipment according to new sponsors.

So you have to identify someone when they have their most distinguishing features covered (hair with helmet/ eyes with glasses). And you are trying to identify them from ever changing camera angles from either long distance air shot or an unsteady motorbike view that is constantly being cut to a picture of some 15th century castle.

posted by Martyn_K [98 posts]
17th April 2014 - 10:50


I like him. Find him funny.

posted by Joelsim [1845 posts]
18th April 2014 - 20:38


At the start of the '14 season CK wasn't on much, seemingly benched in favour of Declan Quigley and Rob Hatch. Now he seems over-used, I have to say. I like the guy, but if I've heard the phrases, "business end of the race," or "that's not a grin, that's a grimace" once apiece I've heard them a thousand times. And now he seems to have been given a partner in grandiloquence in the shape of Matt Stephens. While Bri Smith or Sean Kelly temper CK's verbosity, Stephens tries to match him platitude for platitude. I'd like to hear Quiggers and Magnus B call more races.

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posted by Him Up North [241 posts]
18th April 2014 - 21:57


Wish David Harmon was back his commentary of the men's Worlds RR which Cadel Evans won was superb. He is sadly missed hope he recovers from his illness.

posted by Roberj4 [207 posts]
18th April 2014 - 22:51


As mentioned above I believe David Harmon is ready to work again but has not been given the chance as yet. A couple of his recent tweets:

@spokesmen Thanks all once again for your messages. I'm ready to work behind the mic. It's not my call anymore if I do

@spokesmen Thank you for all the questions about @EurosportUKTV. I have not been booked for any commentary on the channel

A real shame if they are overlooking him. Especially if it is in favour of Carlton Kirby more often than not. Even more especially in his time of need after giving them many years good service.

posted by ruffest [8 posts]
19th April 2014 - 10:54


I don't dislike CK as much as some, but he seems to forget he's broadcasting, and screams "WOOOAHHHHH!!!!" too often instead of telling the viewer what's actually happening. Commentating is incredibly difficult, especially for hours at a time but so many commentators seem to have a fear of silence. Sometimes just shutting up and letting the images speak for themselves is the best thing.

posted by Meaulnes [56 posts]
19th April 2014 - 11:26


with CK the sprint for the line starts to climax with about 15k to go.

He just doesn't have the knowledge and race insight that's required to cover the big races, how many times does he get corrected by his co-commentator? Let's remember he gets paid to do this, so I'm not interested in how difficult it may or may not be, there are commentators who do a far better job, so let's have them (back), especially David Harmon.

If I manage to find another feed of a race without CK, then I always switch from Eurosport.

posted by Metjas [335 posts]
19th April 2014 - 12:42


Kirby is an imbecile. His commentary is horrendous and shows an overwhelming ignorance of tactics, and he consistently misidentifies riders (even when he manages to name a rider's name at all, rather than just calling the team name). He pretends to provide expert commentary, but he has less knowledge than your average club racer. Kirby covers the sport as a MAMIL -- there's absolutely no way anyone would put up with a dippy five-a-side player calling games for the Premier League, so I'm not sure why we have to put up with the equivalent for cycling coverage on Eurosport.

For my part, I'm a huge fan of Rob Hatch (and the new inCycle show he hosts on Sky Sports is fantastic). And both Dan Lloyd and Matt Stephens are excellent. Real insight and detail.

posted by amc654 [33 posts]
19th April 2014 - 14:00


Carlton's part of the show. He's in the grand tradition of David Coleman - famously sent up on Spitting Image "Oh no!!! I'm already hysterical with three laps to go!!!' I can't sustain this level of excitement!!!!!' He's also reminiscent of Murray 'pants on fire' Walker.

He's a foil for ex racers who sometimes don't have the delivery and emotion. Backstedt was awful when he started. He's improved. Stephens is good. Kelly was awful to start with and said bugger all. Now his problem is talking over the action. What Kelly says is always spot but very few have his knowledge - including all those wittering on about how poor they think Kirby is. CK is the first to admit when he says something daft and turns to see Kelly rolling his eyes.

In an ideal world we'd get to listen to a few of you commentating next to Sean Kelly on a pro race. Gawd how I'd love that... Laughing You'd be out of the trailer on the tip of Kelly's boot before the first feed stop. Big Grin

Silly me. You're probably right....

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posted by MercuryOne [1128 posts]
19th April 2014 - 14:43


Ooh, the "time to pull up my sofa and become an expert on commentating" brigade are out in force.

Him and Kelly were brilliant together and long may it continue.

There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [3070 posts]
19th April 2014 - 14:58


"Race X was completely ruined because Y was commentating and he knows nothing about 'my' sport, and I'd be much better"

feel free to fill in the blanks with your preferred nadir.

Personally I don't mind who's commentating as they all bring something to the table, and not all of us can identify a rider by the particular scar on their left knee that they got when they fell over on corner p, in stage q of the 2001 tour of Barnsley

posted by keirik [30 posts]
19th April 2014 - 17:19


Shut up. Shut up! SHUT UP!
What is wrong with you people, leave the man alone. So you don't like his style, write to Sky or Eurosport or whoever. Are we going to see this fossil thread again in 2015 when this person is still employed? Just leave it. At Wits End

I am stronger than Mensa, Miller and Mailer, I spat out Plath and Pinter.

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posted by bikeboy76 [1640 posts]
19th April 2014 - 18:30


So everyone on here could do better could they? You could sit there for up to 6 hrs at a time, race radio in one ear (probably in French) and your producer in the other ear; 2 or 3 TV monitors in front of you and a co-commentator alongside and you could not only talk knowledgeably about all aspects of road racing including equipment, teams, tactics, the rider roster for that race, the potted history of each rider, some gems of information about the area they're riding through but you could also pass all that on to the viewers (who of course vary from your die hard know-it-all racer to complete newcomers to the sport) ideally with some humour or banter thrown in as well while also reacting instantly to all the crashes, attacks etc that happen live during the race.

Great, I'm sure Eurosport would love to see your résumé.
Personally I like Carlton, I think he does a generally very good job. Rob Hayles is well worth listening to as well, he often does Radio 5 Live commentary.

So long as its not Hugh Porter or Phil Liggett...

posted by crazy-legs [623 posts]
19th April 2014 - 20:13


I must surely be missing something, but I've paid to watch cycling on Eurosport and therefore I'm perfectly entitled to sing their praise when I feel it's deserved, just as I feel I can criticise a commentator not up to the standard expected. And I don't need to be a better commentator myself, why should I? If you are dissatisfied with the quality of a dish/wine in a restaurant, do you want to be told that if you can't cook it/make the wine better yourself then you have no right to criticise? The cook works in unbelievably stressful conditions/ it's hot/ long nights etc.

If you like CK, so be it; if you don't, you're stuffed! At least for the time being Smile

posted by Metjas [335 posts]
19th April 2014 - 21:33


He's bloody awful. I might ditch my Eurosport Player sub and go back to pirate feeds from Sporza. Their chaps might be just as crap as Carlton, but as it's in foreign I won't know or care.

Rob Simmonds's picture

posted by Rob Simmonds [257 posts]
19th April 2014 - 21:47


I see there is there is now a petition to bring back David Harmon:

posted by ruffest [8 posts]
27th April 2014 - 18:46


I like to watch my favorite TV show Bigg Boss in the free time Tongue

posted by praveshkumar796 [2 posts]
28th August 2014 - 11:59


Really like listening to him even if sometimes the cycling version of Murray Walker.

Forum rudeness is for the weak - pity them.

posted by Eebijeebi [113 posts]
28th August 2014 - 13:40