Peter Scudamore criticises BBC's lack of racing coverage following Cornelius Lysaght's departure

Tom Morgan
Cornelius Lysaght (pictured) was let go by the BBC in a move thought to be part of their 'Under-35s' policy - TMG John Lawrence

Eight-time champion jump jockey Peter Scudamore has launched a blistering attack on the BBC over the sacking of "quite excellent broadcaster" Cornelius Lysaght.

Scudamore poured scorn on the corporation's decision after Lysaght told the Daily Telegraph of his sadness at being made redundant following 30 years on what is now Radio 5 Live.

The 54-year-old racing correspondent leaves after Cheltenham and the Grand National along with fellow staffer and host, Jonathan Overend. The decision has been linked with an “Under-35s” policy pursued by the BBC’s director of radio, James Purnell.

Scudamore told the "What a Shout" programme on the Racing Post YouTube channel that Lysaght's departure would effectively mean the end of racing on 5 Live. "I wouldn’t say that it’s his age, he’s a quite excellent broadcaster," he said. "What disappoints me is that really they’re sacking racing and not Cornelius, the BBC.  I feel they have a responsibility and it’s a big, British industry and a lot of people are employed. We pay our licence fee and I think the BBC has a responsibility to broadcast and put it out there. It’s a public servant to us - I’m paying my licence fee."

Occasional 5 Live host Mark Pougatch, now a regular on BT Sport and ITV, has also been told there is no more regular work at the BBC.

In an apparent dig at coverage of Australian Open tennis, Scudamore added: "I turned my radio on this morning and I’m listening to some tennis player I’ve never heard of in Melbourne having beaten somebody at the heats too much. I mean…come on, we should be supporting our own industries and sport."

On Monday, Lysaght expressed sadness at his departure, but told the Daily Telegraph: "I'm not going to sit here and slag off the BBC. The decision to let me go is obviously disappointing. It's sad, and I think the BBC is wrong in the decision it's made. However, I completely respect its right to do so because I've had a really happy relationship with the BBC for 30 years. And I'm absolutely in love with radio."