Des Lynam’s going back to the Beeb

TV veteran Des Lynam is returning the BBC – the channel he famously defected from almost a decade ago. The former Match Of The Day host moved to ITV in 1999 after the BBC lost the rights to Premiership football highlights to their rival. But Des is now set to return to his former employers to front Sport Mastermind – a spin-off of the classic BBC2 quiz, according to The Sun. Each week, sports fans will sit in the big black chair to answer questions about their specialist subject followed by sports general knowledge. The series will kick off this summer to coincide with the Beijing Olympics and Euro 2008 football tournament in Austria and Switzerland, and is due to run for 10 weeks. As the contest reaches its climax, one contestant will be crowned Sport Mastermind 2008. Des said last night: “Bearing in mind how many people are fascinated by sport, I think this programme will be a very popular complement to Mastermind. “I have always been a Mastermind fan so I am delighted to be involved.” BBC bosses are thrilled to have Des back. A spokesperson for the Corporation said: “Getting Des back is a real coup. Des belongs on the Beeb.” Indeed, before moving to ITV, Des enjoyed 30 years at the BBC. He stayed with ITV for five years before announcing after the Euro 2004 football championships that he was retiring. But the following year he signed a two-year deal with Channel 4 to host its popular quiz Countdown – but left after a year as he grew tired of commuting to its Leeds studio.