The Commentators

Current Portfolio   Durational   Online   Outdoor  
Two commentators in sheepskin coats holding lip microphones stood in front of a metal roller shutter. One is wearing a hat and looks very concentrated, the other has a half smile

The Commentators say it as they see it – all the world as sport.

Once stalwarts of the radio, whose voices brought major sporting events into the nation’s living rooms, now The Commentators have fallen from favour. Now they eke out a living wherever they can find work. They bring to their marathon commentaries of everyday life the same unquenchable enthusiasm they once applied to the greatest sporting contests.

The Commentators are a spin-off from a legendary 24 Hour Scalextric event staged in 2009. Commentaries are usually audible both live and online, they provide an alternative vision of the world we live in. It is professional people watching, it is CCTV for the radio, it is a public service – of sorts.

They have been booked to commentate on festivals, openings, the World Gurning Championship, 12 hours in the life of Broad Street, a primary school sports day and Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Nutcracker.

You can listen back to some commentary highlights here: thecommentators.live

And you can listen back to their lockdown ‘Film On The Radio’ podcasts on your usual podcast platform by searching for Stan’s Internet Cafe or here: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/stans-internet-cafe


The Commentators Call: The General Election

Craig Stephens & James Yarker
Researcher Nick Booth
Tech Dominic Thompson


The Commentators Call: Moseley Folk Festival

A commentator stood in a music festival field speaking into a microphone. There are people in the background. There is colourful bunting and a string of festoon lights

Craig Stephens & James Yarker
Commissioned by Moseley Folk Festival 2014. Tech Jon Ward

A commentator speaking into a microphone in a festival field. A woman in a green hat has her arm around his shoulders

Craig Stephens & James Yarker
Commissioned by Moseley Folk Festival 2015. Tech Jon Ward

Craig Stephens & James Yarker
Commissioned by Moseley Folk Festival 2017. Tech Jon Ward

A commentator surrounded by people in a festival field, he has straw in his hair.

Craig Stephens & James Yarker
Commissioned by Moseley Folk Festival. 2018 Tech Peter Maxwell-Dixon & Ryan Knight

Craig Stephens & James Yarker Commissioned by Moseley Folk Festival 2019: Tech Peter Maxwell-Dixon & Ryan Knight

Craig Stephens & James Yarker
Commissioned by Moseley Folk Festival 2021: Tech Peter Maxwell-Dixon, Robin Stephens & Ryan Knight

First red hat of the day here at the Birmingham library”. I can’t seem to turn off this commentary from @stanscafe

Twitter

The Commentators Call: 24 Hour Scalextric

Sat beyond a scalexitric track two commenators on a small stage

Craig Stephens & James Yarker
Tech Rhubarb Radio and Alan Dolhasz


The Commentators Call: BE Festival Awards

Craig Stephens & James Yarker
M.C. Graeme Rose. Commissioned by BE Festival


The Commentators Call: Birmingham Young Professional of the Year Awards

Commissioned by Birmigham Future. Tech Peter Maxwell-Dixon


The Commentators Call: Kinder Exeter

Craig Stephens & James Yarker
Commissioned by Kinder Exeter
Tech advice Peter Maxwell- Dixon


The Commentators Call: West Bromwich

Lyng Media Club & James Yarker. Commissioned by Creative Black Country


The Commentators Call: Celebrating 10 Years Festival

Gareth Brierley & James Yarker
Gareth Brierley & Jack Trow

The Commentators Call: Egramont Crab & Sports Fair

(Including World Gurning Championships)

Craig Stephens & James Yarker
Commissioned by AND Festival (archive recording here), engineer Simon Hanson


The Commentators Call: Billesley Primary Sports Day

Graeme Rose & Craig Stephens
Supported by James Yarker with Evie Boulstridge


The Commentators Call: Broad St. 18:00 – 06:00

A table in  a hotel room. On the table is a sound mixing desk and microphones. There is a mirror on the wall and a television

Craig Stephens & James Yarker
Commissioned by Fierce. Tech Peter Maxwell Dixon


The Commentators Call: Birmingham Royal Ballet

Craig Stephens & James Yarker
Featuring David Bintley & The Nutcracker. In association with Birmingham Royal Ballet. Tech Peter Maxwell-Dixon. Video by Alex Earle


The Commentators Call: Lunar Festival

Craig Stephens & James Yarker
Commissioned by Lunar Festival Festival Tech Jon Ward with Georgiana Mihai


The Commentators Call: Jewellery Quarter Festival

2019 Craig Stephens & James Yarker. 2017 Craig Stephens & Jack Trow. Commissioned by Jewellery Quarter Business Improvement District


The Commentators Call: A Crowd Watching Brazil vs Portugal

Craig Stephens & James Yarker
Commissioned by Fierce. Tech Howard Potts


The Commentators Call: Laura & Dan’s Wedding Reception

The Commentators - 2 men dressed in sheepskin coats are inside a wedding venue. They are talking into lip microphones. In front of them is their equipment which includes a mixing desk and portable speaker

The Commentators Call: The Grand Northern Ukulele Festival, Huddersfield

Two commentators dressed in sheepskin coats speaking into lip mics. They are both wearing hats, one is wearing sunglasses because it is a hot, sunny day

Jake Oldershaw & Jack Trow Tech: Dominic Thompson


Tour dates

  • 4 July 2024
    The General Election Count
    Hall 3 ICC, Birmingham

  • 30 May – 1 June 2024
    Scalextric Racing
    Re-Mix
    Hanley, Stoke-On-Trent

  • 21 September 2023
    First Folio Celebrations,
    Birmingham

  • 29 July 2023
    Worcester Fringe Festival

  • 16 June 2023
    Grand Northern Ukulele Festival,
    Huddersfield

  • 22 April 2023
    Laura & Dan’s Wedding

  • 3 & 4 September, 2022
    Moseley Folk Festival

  • 31 July – 2 August, 2022
    Celebrating 10 Years Festival,
    Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

  • 19 & 25 June, 2022
    Birmingham International Dance Festival

  • 3 – 5 September, 2021
    Moseley Folk Festival

  • 28th & 29th August, 2021
    Weekender, Birmingham

  • 19th June, 2021
    Kinder Exeter, Exeter
    

  • 31st August – 1st September, 2019
    Moseley Folk Festival

  • 29th June, 2019
    Jewellery Quarter Festival, Birmingham

  • 16th May, 2019
    Birmingham Young Professional of the Year Awards

  • 29th November, 2018
    Birmingham Royal Ballet

  • 31st August – 2nd September, 2018
    Moseley Folk Festival

  • 23rd September, 2017
    Bull Ring Open Market
    

  • 1st – 3rd September, 2017
    Moseley Folk Festival

  • 29th July, 2017
    Jewellery Quarter Festival, Birmingham

  • 5th – 6th September, 2015
    Moseley Folk Festival

  • 5th – 7th June, 2015
    Lunar Festival

  • 16th January, 2015
    Under the Radar, New York City

  • 30th & 31st August, 2014
    Moseley Folk Festival

  • 13th July, 2014
    BE Festival, Birmingham

  • 2nd – 5th September, 2013
    Library of Birmingham

  • 11th July, 2013
    Billesley Primary School, Birmingham
    

  • 17th September, 2011
    AND Festival, Egremont, Cumbria

  • 24th March, 2011
    Broad Street, Birmingham

  • 25th June, 2010
    Students Guild/Warwick Arts Centre

  • 9th November 2009
    Eastside Projects, Birmingham

  • 13/14th June, 2009
    @ A E Harris, Birmingham


The Commentators Call: The Library Of Birmingham Opening

Craig Stephens & James Yarker
Technical and other genius Jon Ward. Thanks to Canstream

You can take 10 books out at a time, so I’d say go for it, take a chance”. @stanscafe live commentary on Birmingham library. Compulsive.

Twitter

The Commentators Call: Eastside Projects Opening

(Abstract Cabinet Show)

Graeme Rose & Craig Stephens
Commissioned by Gavin Wade


The Commentators Call: Birmingham Weekender

Two Commentators outside Bullring shopping centre.

Graeme Rose, Jack Trow & James Yarker. Commissioned by Weekender


The Commentators Call: The Public Theater, New York City

Craig Stephens & Graeme Rose
Commissioned by Under The Radar


The Commentators Call: Birmingham International Dance Festival

Graeme Rose & James Yarker
Graeme Rose & Craig Stephens


The Commentators Call: Bull Ring Open Markets

Craig Stephens & Graeme Rose
Commissioned by Birmingham Weekender. Tech Peter Maxwell-Dixon


The Commentators Call: Shakespeare’s First Folio

Craig Stephens & James Yarker Commissioned by Everything To Everybody – Shakespeare’s First Folio visits Bullring Birmingham

I was in the library on several different occasions over the first three days and found the Commentators incredibly irritating and tedious. They clearly thought that they were being very clever but their banal comments just droned on. I felt really sorry for the people who had to work near them – at least I could escape to upper floors.

Anon