British football commentator for the BBC and well-known for commentating on all seven series of Robot Wars.
Jonathan Pearce wanted to become a footballer, but his career was ended after breaking his leg in 1974. He started his career in broadcasting at BBC Radio Bristol before becoming a Sports Editor at the age of 23. In 1987 he moved to Capital Radio and he launched Capital Gold Sport a year later. Pearce also commentated on a few low-key Premier League games for Sky Sports during the 1992-93 season, before taking up his Five Live and Match of the Day roles.
He began his six year run as commentator in 1998 and his enthusiasm attracted mainly positive reviews. Pearce made no secret of his excitement while commentating, and produced many priceless quotes. He was also known for occasional laughing fits, most notably during Hypno Disc’s first battle against Robogeddon and the first ever Out of the Arena flip by Chaos 2 against Firestorm. Pearce’s position was never in doubt and he held onto his role for all seven UK Championships as well as both series of Robot Wars Extreme.
In The Sixth Wars and the second series of Extreme, Pearce would interview various other faces of Robot Wars on their bets on the final battle of the episode. Whenever Pearce was joined by a current Robot Wars Judge, they wouldn’t give a verdict, as they had to remain impartial, but Pearce would still offer his prediction.
When Five was launched in 1997, Pearce was signed as their lead football commentator. He joined Five Live in 2002 and was part of their commentary team for the 2002 FIFA World Cup. He went on to present the midweek sports programme Sport on Five from 2003 until 2005 and became a commentator for BBC television on Match of the Day in 2004.
Pearce has commentated on over 150 England internationals, five FIFA World Cups, four European Championships and over 20 FA Cup Finals. In 1998, he received heavy criticism from British tabloid The Daily Mail for his exceptionally exuberant commentary during England’s 1998 World Cup qualifier against Poland, often cheering his home nation on during the game. Despite the detractors, some praised Pearce on his outstanding ability to pronounce the Polish players’ names.
Since joining the BBC Match of the Day team, Pearce has been the second choice commentator to the legendary John Motson for live matches, but is seen by many as the favourite to become the BBC’s first choice commentator now that John Motson has stopped covering international games. Indeed, Pearce is normally used for high-profile international games. He has also appeared in other BBC productions, such as Hole in the Wall and a guest appearance on Doctor Who.
Jonathan Pearce is admired for his exuberant approach to commentary, often displaying his excitement by raising his voice and becomming completely absorbed in what he is commentating on–a style that suited the more hectic Robot Wars scene.