‘Tiser interview: Alan March, voice of Splash

Alan March, sports commentator Ilkeston
Alan March, sports commentator Ilkeston

You may not recognise his face but you will probably recognise his voice.

Alan March is a sport commentator and host who has covered a number of major sporting events and is best known as the voice of Splash, hosted by swimmer Tom Daly.

The 34-year-old dad of four, including seven-month-old daughter Camille, now has his own successful business and has recently moved back to Ilkeston.

Nine years ago Alan won a BBC competition to find a sports commentator. Up until then he had been working in a bread factory and would never would have believed that he would now be running his own successful sports commentary business.

Alan said: “In 2006 the BBC were looking for people who loved football and talked a lot, I thought ‘that’s me’ so I gave it a go.

“I never went to college or university but won against people who had studied broadcasting. I was told I had a natural aptitude for audio.

“After that Wembly Stadium rang and asked if I could do audio for them. They asked how much I charged and I said ‘I don’t know’. It went from there.

“I went on to host some other stuff and enjoyed that. Then I was introduced to British swimming, I ended up doing three events and was later given the London Olympics. It’s daunting at times but if you stand still nothing happens. It’s exciting and scary thinking back to ten years ago when the only issue was getting up in time to get to the factory.”

The jobs soon started rolling in for Alan, including commentary at the Asian Games in Beijing.

By 2010 he decided to take it more seriously and in 2012 he decided to concentrate just on being a announcer and commentator.

The offer of doing the commentary for Splash the came about: “In 2012 I was asked if I wanted to be part of a TV show with Tom Daly in it.’ said Alan, ‘I did two series of it and that’s what I’m most well known for. It’s a different world, I was probably the only person not in the building, I was outside in a truck so I could hear.

“If somebody had said to me two or three years before then that I would be doing that I wouldn’t have believed them. From then I believed I could do something different.”

As things got busier he decided to start his own business with wife of four years Francesca. It meant if he wasn’t available for a job they would be able to provide someone else. They have since covered sports such as darts and tae kwon do and are now the lead supplier of audio describers in the country, even landing the Commonwealth Games last year.

Alan’s latest job is as the announcer at the World Gymnastics Championships in Glasgow. He said: “I have seen two medals won back-to-back, it’s great. The job takes me around the world, I always have a smile on my face.”

He does however admit it’s a job where mistakes can be made: “Greek names are my nemesis’, he said’ ‘You can’t possible learn 200 to 800 people’s names in the 24 hours you have as rehearsal.”

Though they do events all over the world they still cover local events. One of Alan’s interns will be hosting the Stapleford Christmas lights switch on. Alan met the university graduate called Stephen at one of the commentary courses he runs and was impressed by him: He said: “In 2014 someone mentioned Stephen was working in Tesco. I thought ‘I’m not having that’ so I called him and offered him an internship.”

Alan has met many sports stars over the years and named his baby after French swimmer Camille Muffatt who lost her life in a helicopter accident.

He said: “I met Camille a few times and commented on her at the Olympics so I thought it would be a nice thing to do.”