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Ortis Deley axed from Channel 4 athletics coverage

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Ortis Deley

© WENN / Chris Saxon

Channel 4 has dropped Ortis Deley as the main presenter of its coverage of the IAAF world athletics championships following hundreds of complaints from viewers.

Deley, who made his name on children's programmes before moving to Channel 5's The Gadget Show, was selected as lead anchor by Channel 4 for its coverage of the championships after the broadcaster secured the rights following 27 years on the BBC and promised an "innovative approach to live sport".

However, Deley has struggled in the live role and attracted complaints for his stilted delivery, frequent mistakes and problems pronouncing the names of fellow presenters. At one stage he told viewers they would see "history in the making as Oscar Pistorius from South Africa makes history".

A video of his presenting gaffes, titled 'Ortis Deley presenting masterclass', was posted on YouTube and drew a string of angry comments. One complainant said: "The bosses at Channel 4 have to take all the blame for this embarrassment. This is a very big event for them and they should've made sure they hired a half-decent presenter who could handle live TV."

Watch the Ortis Deley YouTube video:



Channel 4 said that the number of complaints it has received was in the "low hundreds" since the events began on August 27, while some of the objections were about the advertising interruptions in the coverage compared with the commercial-free BBC.

Deley will remain with Channel 4's presenting team in Daegu, South Korea, but his role has been "scaled back" to no longer involve being the main presenter.

He has been replaced by Rick Edwards, who also has no previous live athletics experience, but has presented Channel 4's Paralympics preview programme That Paralympic Show.

Four-time Olympic gold medal-winning athlete Michael Johnson is lead pundit on the coverage team.

A Channel 4 spokeswoman said: "Channel 4 is committed to developing new presenting talent and this extends to our coverage of sporting events.

"Ortis Deley's role in Korea covering the world athletics has been scaled back but he will continue to be on air for the duration of the competition.

"In total we have a team of ten commentators covering this event from Michael Johnson and well-loved British athletes Dean Macey, Katharine Merry and Iwan Thomas to new presenters."

Channel 4 will be hoping to get its live athletics presenting right as next year it will be the main broadcaster of the London Paralympics, airing around 150 hours of live coverage of the Games.

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