Peter Drury: Still Getting Away With It

Peter Drury is a football commentator. These days he is on BT, but he used to be on ITV, a fact of which he was very proud, although the words ‘ITV’ and ‘sport’ go together like violin and custard in most people’s minds, so to be an ITV sports commentator is not necessarily something to be proud of. Christened as Cyprian Peter Drury, he has dropped his first name. To me he is just Dreary, for reasons that become painfully obvious as soon as you listen to him for longer than five nanoseconds.

Somehow Drury seems to have developed the idea that people tune in to football matches he’s commentating on, not because it is the only channel showing that particular match so there’s no alternative, but because they want to listen to him. When he was at ITV I did think that maybe he realised that ITV’s sports coverage in general and football coverage in particular were so utterly and depressingly piss-poor that they make hospital radio sound like Orson Welles reading Churchill’s diaries adapted by Stephen Fry, and thus he was trying to make it up to us, the suffering public, by being entertaining. I might, if in an especially good mood, be prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt and conclude that he’s a decent fellow at heart who is trying to be entertaining but unfortunately comes across as a total berk. Against that is the evidence of his MySpace page.

The original is gone now, since MySpace sank into oblivion some years ago. Luckily I saved a copy. This should not be lost to posterity.

Let’s look at the content. The first time I read this I was reduced to doing it through my fingers, such is the horror it generates. OMG, as people who used to use MySpace would say. Talk about displaying your ignorance. I can barely believe some of what he has written. And when I say that, I mean I can barely believe that someone who communicates for a living could possibly write so badly.

At first I thought that as it’s so bad it must have been a hoax, but I’m convinced it wasn’t. For one thing, if you check the messages he’s sent you can see his attempts at conversation with fellow broadcaster Jim Rosenthal, who, being a nice chap himself, does not tell him to sod off. For another, there’s too much detail to bother making up. And thirdly, although his spoken English skills are not quite as appalling as the writing on his MySpace page, there is enough similarity to link the two.

Before we get into the horrible car crash detail of it all, there was a page here: with a tongue-in-cheek description of the man that demonstrated that I am far from alone in my opinion of his commentating, if nothing else. However, the text from that page has gone missing, so you’ll have to read about John “Motty” Motson instead.

Instead let’s look at Drury’s description of himself on MySpace. The first thing to note is that he claims to be a university graduate. Bear that in mind. His Wikipedia page tells me he was born in 1968, so he must have gone to University in the 1980s, before it became really easy and literally half of school leavers became undergrads. Apparently he studied politics. He then started his career as a journalist. Both these things would seem on the face of it to require a certain amount of skill at both reading and writing.

Moving on to the ‘About Me’ section. As a side note, I am not going to bother putting ‘sic’ in because I’d almost double the length of this piece if I put it everywhere it was needed. Trust me, these are Drury’s words. He begins: “Good Evening.” Now immediately he seems to have confused when he’s writing this with when someone is going to be reading it. Schoolboy error. He goes on: “I am famous for my larynx tight shouts during football games of which I commentate on.” Now I ask you, in all honesty, have you ever seen a more useless sentence written by either a journalist or a graduate, never mind both?

He goes on further: “You might hear me squeal the following words: Ripsnorter, Touch Paper, Whip, Belter, Vivacious, Beauty, Of Course, Loving It, Goal, Golden Goal, Has Ever A Goal Been So Golden, Power, Little Bull, Pace and many more. Please find my a summary of myself below. After 8 years with BBC Radio, Peter joined ITV Sport in March 1998 . . .” I won’t bore you with the list of sports and events he’s worked on that follows, but I do love the way he jumps from first person to third, as though we’re now into the official press release bit.

Then we get this: “Beyond broadcasting, Peter has been a regular columnist for the Independant newspaper and has written for numerous sporting publications.” This sentence amazes me in several ways. For one thing, his grammar and punctuation are so much better than usual. Sadly his spelling isn’t keeping up, because it is of course The Independent. Next, I am amazed that he ever managed to persuade the Editor of The Independent that his views were worth printing, and even more amazed that he could apparently put together enough coherent sentences in a row to make up a 500 word or more piece.

Previously I’ve looked on The Independent website, and some of Dreary’s work was featured. Alas, it appears they have since taken it down. However, the one or two I read out of morbid curiosity were strikingly different from other Dreary output. It was immediately obvious that he could not have written them on his own. He is quite clearly incapable of it. But he’s not a big enough name (surely!) to have someone else write the whole thing for him on the basis of a five minute phone call, as is the way with most journalism supposedly written by football players and managers, so the Editor of The Indie must have got one of his junior staffers to rewrite the complete bollocks that I’m sure Drury submitted.

Back to MySpace, and the informative Interests section. Under General he states: “My vivacious interest in Politics and Cricket shows no bounds of diminishing.” I’m sorry, what… what the devil are you blathering about man? If he said this sentence out loud in a conversation you would think he had suffered some sort of brain seizure.

“Television: Only ITV for me. There’s no other place for Live sport.” As lies go this is up there with ‘The cheque is in the post’, ‘Of course I’ll respect you in the morning’ and ‘No, Alex Ferguson is not a grumpy grudge-bearing red-nosed old git’. However, as he worked for ITV (Drury that is, not Ferguson) it’s forgivable, especially as he tried really hard and got the apostrophe in the right place.

Finally I will quote this: “Books: I don’t really have time to read books, I’m afraid. When I’m not watching ITV I’m commentating on it!!” Are you thinking what I’m thinking? (Glossing over the second unrealistic plug for ITV and the over-excited double exclamation mark.) He doesn’t read books. He. Doesn’t. Read. Books. And so we reach the nub. The very heart of the problem. He is a professional communicator, but he simply doesn’t have time to read any books. Well, why would he? He knows lots of words already! What can books possibly teach him? If books were so great there’d be programmes about them on ITV! Books aren’t for busy people like him, they’re for other people, people with more time on their hands. People with BRAINS! People who don’t just say out loud every thought they have with no editing, no matter how impossibly stupid it is! People who value knowledge and think things like libraries and education are in general a social benefit and a good idea.

I could not possibly wish an untimely death on Peter Drury, well, not publicly anyway, but when he does meet his end I hope it’s because the hardback version of the complete works of Oscar Wilde falls on him from a tenth storey window. It’s the only way any wit is ever going to lodge itself in his brain.

Twitter: @P_h_i_1


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