The Premier League season is upon us for another year, with many people’s weekends taken up with the games on offer while glued to their fantasy football app.
And a new show has launched to compliment the 2018-2019 season, hosted by none other than former footballer Peter Crouch, comedian and mega footie fan John Bishop and sports broadcaster Gabby Logan.
Back of the Net on Amazon Prime Video will be released Tuesdays after Premier League football weekends, offering a lighthearted take on the sport with different guests each week.
A must-watch for footie fans, Back of the Net is the perfect addition to your weekly football viewing.
From the banter between the three hosts, the fact it’s Peter Crouch’s first gig after retiring from football, and showing a different side to footballers - they reveal to BT TV and other journalists their top three reasons to watch...
BT TV customers can access the Prime Video app, allowing them to sign-up and watch thousands of TV episodes and movies - including Back of the Net.
1. The banter between the three hosts
First things first, Back of the Net isn’t your usual post-match commentary.
A mix between A League of Their Own and Soccer AM, it’s a more lighthearted take on football - with the three hosts all fans of the game. And it sounds like filming the pilot was a LOT of fun.
Peter tells us: “It was really fun! We’d never done the show, so you don’t really know how it’s gonna go. But it was great. I loved it.”
John agrees filming the pilot was a ‘laugh’, with Gabby agreeing: “It was a bit crazy, wasn’t it? Crazy and fun. We didn’t really know what to expect.
"I’m such a perfectionist that I drove home that night thinking ‘we could have done that, we could have done that’, but when we saw the edit, I was like ‘that was alright!’”
It helps that Gabby, Peter and John all knew each other from the footie world - John’s interviewed Gabby on his ‘In Conversation With’ TV show, below, while Gabby’s interviewed Peter at the World Cup, etc. This helps to build trust and rapport between the trio, which translates to chemistry on-screen.
Gabby explains: “I’ve known John for a long time. There’s a trust there. We all know we’ve done a lot of work in our industries for a long time, and there’s a trust that you know what you’re doing. Hopefully, as I say, it will lend itself to better chemistry as you grow.”
John agrees: “I’d only seen Peter socially at the odd party. I know Gabby well, we’re family friends, and [her husband] Kenny and the kids. I don’t really know how I know Gabby, we’ve just become friends and I get along well with her husband, so that was easy. I’ve interviewed her, but we’ve never worked together.
“It was evident from everyone in the audience [at the filming of the pilot episode], and the execs who were watching it, that the key thing was to have that chemistry. It was honestly comfortable. It was like putting on a glove.
“I can’t wait to just get in the flow of it… we’ll learn so much from each episode that there’ll just get their own momentum. It’s really, really exciting. The reality is, every show gets better the more you do it.”
Although, the one thing that’s getting in the way of that relationship slightly is Peter’s organisation - or lack of. The hosts all tried to arrange a dinner, the three of them and their partners, but Peter double (or should it be triple?) booked himself - standing up Gabby and John at the restaurant. Oops!
"We’ve got to get Peter’s diary sorted out!," says Gabby. She explains: "We had a dinner in the diary last week, and we have a WhatsApp group, and I put a message in the WhatsApp group saying I was going to be late, and John said he was going to be late too, and Peter writes ‘What are we doing tonight? Why’s Gabby telling me she’s 15 minutes late? What’s she late for?’
Peter says: “I was watching my daughter’s prize-giving at school, so I can only apologise for that!”
Gabby continues: “It wasn’t a great start! My husband was telling me Peter was winding me up. The next thing he’s sending a picture of himself outside the school playground!”
Realising he’s double booked himself, Peter says: “The worst thing was I was with my little boy walking around the playground, so I couldn’t even watch the prizegiving!”
Gabby concludes: “Meanwhile we’re in the river cafe drinking Rose!"
Not a good first impression, Peter...!
2. It’s Peter Crouch’s first TV gig after retiring from football
When we chatted to Peter and the hosts in early July this year, he was umming and ahhing about what the rest of his career entailed.
He told BT TV and oher journalists that his playing career wasn’t over - before announcing his retirement from professional football shortly after.
After a lot of deliberation this summer I have decided to retire from football !— Peter Crouch (@petercrouch) July 12, 2019
Our wonderful game has given me everything.
I’m so thankful to everyone who helped me get there and to help me stay there for so long. X
However it was clear from our conversation that he was eyeing up a career in TV broadcasting after the success of his self-titled podcast.
He tells us: “Obviously I’m not getting any younger football-wise, I have to call it a day one day, but it’s so hard to do because it’s all I’ve ever done for so long.
“Last year, I did a book and that did really well, then the podcast I sort of did to promote the book, then that grew legs as well, so that went great. I absolutely love doing the podcast, it’s so much fun, I can’t believe it’s work! I love it.
“So doing that, then obviously getting various offers, then this show jumped out at me because it’s exactly what I like doing. It’s still being involved in football, and being around footballers, but a bit more laid back than the normal commentaries.”
⚽️ BREAKING NEWS ⚽️— Amazon Prime Video Sport (@primevideosport) July 4, 2019
New #premierleague show Back of the Net is coming to @primevideosport in August 🙌
🎙️ Hosted by @petercrouch, @gabbylogan & @johnbishop100, exclusive to #PrimeVideo pic.twitter.com/VeI8vVrYQX
He adds: “I’m never going to replicate playing [football] because that’s my first love, as soon as I could walk I was playing football. I will still play in some capacity. I haven’t hung my boots up yet, I’m just trying different things because I know eventually it will come to an end.
“I’m 38, I feel like I’ve had a good run. A lot of players my age have retired already. I did my coaches badges so I dipped my toe into that. I did this sort of stuff [broadcasting] last year and found that it’s fun and I probably will do more of it.”
Gabby and John both believe that Back of the Net could be just the start of Peter’s post-football career - calling out his likeable, down-to-earth personality as one of the many reasons why he’ll succeed.
Gabby says: “I’ve always got annoyed when people have said to me throughout my career ‘oh, you work with footballers, they’re really dull and boring’. I’ve always been quite defensive. That’s like saying ‘everyone in China is boring’ or ‘everyone in Australia is kind’, you know?
“Just making huge, sweeping generalisations about a huge industry. I’ve seen for myself that’s not the case. All sorts of people are interested in all kinds of different things.
“Peter’s unusual as a human being, he’s a brilliant raconteur, not everybody is. There’s a lot more than meets the eye with a lot of footballers, so for me that’s a joy to be able to give that kind of platform and show people in a different light.”
John adds: “Absolutely I think TV broadcasting [could be a new career for him]. I don’t think there’s any doubt about that. The growth of his podcast is testament to that, but beyond the podcast, he’s so likeable, and amongst all the players, everybody likes him.
“He’s got such a down-to-earth persona, because he’s one of those down-to-earth Premier League players that if he wasn’t playing, he’d be a fan, and that’s not the same for all of them, because if they weren’t playing they’d be an elite athlete doing something else.”
Although, Peter might need a little more practice with the autocue - something he won’t be familiar with as a podcaster.
Gabby says: “Obviously we’ve seen what a good broadcaster Peter is in terms of telling stories, and that’s what we are, we’re communicators obviously, and we want to get information from people and talk about your own experience, and he has got a wealth of experience.
“But nobody expects Peter to be the one sat in the chair reading autocue, least of all Peter when we did the pilot, because he didn’t know he was going to do autocue and he was like ‘WHAT?!’”
John adds: “There was a moment on the pilot where they’d said ‘let’s get in the studio and have a quick run-through with the autocue, we’ll get everyone lined up’.
“Obviously with me and Gabby, that’s what we do, so we were putting in our earpieces, and Peter’s stood there trying to reach up to put his earpiece in, and they said ‘alright Peter that’s your autocue’ and he’s like ‘what?!’.
“I said ‘just stop for a minute, we’ve got to remember, he’s a Premier League footballer, he’s never seen an autocue! Let’s have five minutes to orientate everybody’. When you’re so comfortable in that environment, you forget that it’s his first time in it.”
Practice makes perfect, Peter!
3. It reveals a different side to footballers
One of Back of the Net’s USPs is taking footballers out of their usual environment and letting them have fun in the studio.
Explaining who he thinks the show will appeal to, Peter explains: “We talked about footballers being very guarded, and being quite boring in interviews to be honest, so I think in this show, we’re gonna get good guests on, and we’re gonna put a different sort of spin on football.
“I think you’ll maybe see footballers in a different kind of environment and doing things that you maybe wouldn’t normally see. I think that’s probably the main part of what I like about the show.
“Obviously it will be after the weekend’s football, so it will incorporate reviewing that, but maybe take a different sort of eye on it, rather than the straight reviewing matches.”
Gabby adds: “I think in the last few years, footballers have been able to show more of themselves on social media, and decide the kind of person they want to project on social media."
She continues: "On this show, everyone can be a bit silly, and it’s fine. As we found out from Peter in the last year, there’s a lot more to footballers than meets the eye I think.
“Plus, we’re putting people in situations, like a well-known footballer who’s got a bit of a reputation for being very hard, reviewing toys, and it’s so sort of out there, that you saw a totally different side to him. I’m not saying that’s a regular feature, but there will be things like that.”
John says: “I think Premier League footballers have changed a lot, and I think this show has come at exactly the right time. Through Instagram and social media, they’ve got more of a presence, and that presence is breaking down the barriers between them and the supporters, and as a result it’s something they want to get involved in, and the clubs are supporting them.
“Whereas in the past, it was ‘you can’t do anything unless you’re playing football, or playing golf, you can’t do anything, don’t do anything, don’t do interviews’. I think the relationship with the media, and the role that the media has within the game, and the wealth of the game, is coming from the channels that are supporting it.
“So as a result I think access to players will be easier than it ever was, but also they’re more amenable to it so they see it that someone’s not trying to catch them out, they see it as they’re gonna have a laugh.
“There’s Soccer AM which is a Saturday morning show, this is going to be an evening show, so we’re going to be talking about the events of the week, then having some funny bits. It’s not going to be a parody of Match of the Day.
“It’s going to be a load of fun stuff, it is entertainment stuff. You’ve got to be a football fan. Obviously it’s the Premier League as well, it’s the biggest sporting league in the world. There’s no fixed format [to the show] at the moment. There’s a myriad of things. It’s being filmed after the weekend’s football.
“If something massive or brilliant at the weekend, it will feature in the show. What I like is that we’re not doing it to a terrestrial broadcast timetable. Because this is something that’s so current, I think people will want to watch it. There’s such a huge appetite to watch games.”
Watch Back of the Net if you liked…
A League of Their Own, Soccer AM, A Question of Sport, Match of the Day, That Peter Crouch Podcast.
Back of the Net premieres Tuesday, August 13 on Prime Video.
New episodes of Back of the Net will then be released on Tuesday evenings after each round of Premier League games.
How to watch Back of the Net
Images: Prime Video