"Just be grown-ups" - ITV's Rugby World Cup presenter Mark Pougatch's war of words with the BBC - Ruck

“Just be grown-ups” – ITV’s Rugby World Cup presenter Mark Pougatch’s war of words with the BBC

ITV’s Rugby World Cup presenter Mark Pougatch revealed that he was ousted by BBC 5 Live after serving as a radio station host since 1994.

This move sparked controversy, as Pougatch contradicted the BBC’s official statement, which had suggested that he had “decided to move on.”

In a tweet posted shortly thereafter, Pougatch rebuked the BBC statement, stating, “Thank you very much for all the kind messages, from listeners, friends & colleagues. I’m very touched & appreciative people took the time. Just so we’re clear this was not my decision but on we go.”

Pougatch has not allowed the issue to subside. In a November 2022 interview with The Telegraph, he remarked, “I’m sure there were people at BBC television who didn’t like the fact that I was on BBC Radio and ITV.

“I know that for a fact. But don’t try and say you’ve decided to walk away when it is just patently not the case. Just be grown-ups.


“The BBC aren’t very good at dealing with departures, as they have proved with people far more important than me.

“Any broadcaster is perfectly within their rights to say you’ve run your race, we need to move to the next generation, I completely get that. All I would say is just be honest about it and don’t try and fudge it.”

He has continued to criticize the BBC in subsequent interviews, particularly ridiculing the corporation’s decision to discontinue the 5 pm reading of classified football scores.

Mark Pougatch facts:

  • The presenter is an Arsenal fan
  • His wife is Lady Victoria Scott, daughter of the 5th Early of Eldon
  • He won the Sports Journalists’ Association award for Sports Broadcaster of the Year
  • His grandfather and great grandfather fled Ukraine to escape the violence of the first Russian Revolution
  • Pougatch is the author of “Three Lions Versus the World: England’s World Cup Stories from the Men Who Were There”

Jonny Wilkinson picks his dream team


1. Jason Leonard (England): He was seen by Wilkinson as “someone who inspired and brought energy to the game” with impact.

2. Keith Wood (Ireland): “You need someone here in this position who can bring you the set piece control but at the same time I think they need to be aggressive, be someone that runs hard, someone that doesn’t stop, never gives up.”

3. Craig Dowd (New Zealand): “As with all tight heads what you want is someone who doesn’t take no for an answer, someone who is maybe a little quieter but someone you just don’t mess with”


4. Bakkies Botha (South Africa): “Someone incredibly fierce but very very down to earth” and “at times he’s exactly what a team needs.”

5. Martin Johnson (England): “intelligent, another massive leader, gets himself around the park. My captain”