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Hazel was the youngest ever Grandstand presenter. She’s since become the first female lead anchor to host a men’s golf major, and is, of course, the doyenne of snooker coverage. She might also mention interviewing Pavarotti about showjumping, Seve Ballesteros saying he wanted to be remembered as an artist, and what it was really like as a “woman in a man’s world” of TV sport in the 1980s.
Hazel Irvine was one of the very first female sports presenters in the country. She has been at the helm of BBC’s golf and snooker coverage, and has led sports presentation teams with ITV and Channel 4. She is recognised as one of Britain’s most versatile, knowledgeable and engaging anchors.
Though her career began in local radio Hazel quickly became a recognisable face on TV. She broadcast from her first Olympics in Seoul in 1988 and has worked at every Games since - a total of 15 Summer and Winter Games. She was the youngest ever presenter to anchor Grandstand, the first woman to front coverage of golf’s Masters and Open Championship, and continues to lead a brilliant team at the World Snooker Championship. She has worked on a huge variety of sport and live events, from football World Cup Finals, London Marathons and Ski Sunday to the Edinburgh Military Tattoo and national occasions like the VE Day commemorations. She has also been the recipient of the Royal Television Society’s Sports Presenter of the Year award.
After dinner, Hazel has a wonderful, self-deprecating style - “No, I’m not the one who does the tennis and I’m not the one who does the rugby”. She regales audiences with tales from her broadcasting career, including the all too frequent use of double entendres by her snooker colleagues, the joy experienced when unpronounceable athletes pull out of events, and what it’s like broadcasting to an estimated 27 million viewers during the London Olympics opening ceremony.
As one of the very first female sports presenters in the country, Hazel has been at the heart of a story that has seen a transformation in the role and profile of women in broadcasting.
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