In the late 1960s, he began freelance work in radio, more as a hobby than a job, but it soon became apparent that broadcasting was what he truly wanted to do. His first job was with Radio Brighton in 1968, presenting the Saturday night sports report. He worked for the now defunct Radio Caroline before beginning his BBC career as a boxing commentator, moving on to host ‘Sports Report’ on Radio 2 from 1969 to 1978.
Switching to television in 1978, he presented BBC’s Grandstand on Saturdays. It was in 1984, when David Coleman left the BBC, that Lynam truly became the face of BBC Sport. He also presented ’Sportsnight’ from 1991 to 1997 and ‘Match of the Day’ from 1988 to 1999.
Desmond Michael “Des” Lynam has covered every major sporting event during his career, fronting Wimbledon, the Grand National, the Olympic Games (1980-1998) and Football World Cup (1982-1998), as well as other non-sporting programmes, such as ‘Points of View’ and ‘The Holiday Programme’.
In 1996, he was voted Top Presenter of All Time in a viewer’s poll, marking 60 years of BBC television.
In a move away from sports, in 1998 Lynam recorded an album of 22 poetry readings, to a full orchestral accompaniment.
After a 30-year partnership with BBC, and seeking a new challenge, Lynam made a highly publicised move in joining rival ITV in 1999. He became their main football presenter, including coverage of the UEFA Champions League, Euro 2002 and the FA Premier League.
Having been with ITV for four and a half years, at age 61, Lynam announced in 2004 that he was leaving television presenting after Euro 2004.
In June 2005, Lynam was guest presenter for the third time for an episode of the BBC quiz show ‘Have I Got News for You’. In June and July 2005, he also co-hosted with Sir David Frost on the series ‘The World’s Greatest Sporting Legend’ on Sky One.
Moving again to television in September 2005, he became host of Channel 4 television quiz show ‘Countdown’ and soon endeared himself to the viewers and worked well with co-star Carol Vorderman.
Lynam is also well known for his charitable work. Gillette famously donated a sizeable sum to a charity of Lynam’s choice after he shaved off his trademark moustache, and in January 2008 he also pledged his support for donkey charity ‘Safe Haven for Donkeys in the Holy Land’.
Since leaving Countdown, Lynam has appeared in Setanta Sports’ commercials for its coverage of the Premier League and hosted Sport Mastermind.
Des Lynam is still a familiar in the television scene and his entertainin speeches are in demand at events and seminars nationwide.