"Let's face it Alastair, your voice will never be your fortune..."

University Tutor

Can you hear me now?

A timeline about my broadcasting career

  • 1990-95


    2 World Cups. Rugby Warriors. Lions tour

  • 1989-96

    HTV - Now ITV West Country

    Sports reporting. Documentaries

  • 1985-1989

    Sport on 2

    Rugby World Cup. Cricket World Cup. Test Match Special

  • 1996-2008

    5 Live

    3 World Cups. 3 Lions tours. 100+ internationals, Heineken Cups, Premierships

The Final final

A fittingly momentous rugby match provided the backdrop for Alastair Hignell's valedictory radio commentary for the BBC last May: the Premiership final at Twickenham between Wasps and Leicester. Brian Viner, The Independent

Alastair Hignell, in fact, may just be the bravest, most inspiring person I have ever met. We often talk casually about courage and determination but Higgy must have a titanium core. For almost a decade he has soldiered on for BBC radio while battling the degenerative effects of multiple sclerosis. The listeners would never have guessed and Higgy would be the last person to tell them. I have seen him physically crawl up stairs and drag himself into commentary positions at venues, some of them extremely well-known, where the disabled facilities have been little short of disgraceful. Never once has he whinged or moaned or been anything less than spectacularly good-humoured and modest. Rob Kitson, The Guardian

The final day of my career as a BBC commentator began with a steward querying my pass and ended with two doormen carrying my buggy down 20 steps from a function room with no lift. In between, a man in a yellow jacket attempted to prevent me from accessing the floor from which I had broadcast for the last five buggy-dependent years.Alastair Hignell

...and after almost a decade of continuing on as a BBC radio rugby commentator, he did his last match at Twickenham yesterday. His listeners never knew of his multiple sclerosis, had no inkling of the quiet heroism with which he did his job. And those of us who knew, we never much noticed. He was also that kind of bloke. David Walsh, The Sunday Times

Now, he will continue his fight in private. We will miss his expert and fair-minded commentaries, his appalling puns, those fiendish sports quizzes he used to organise for us on tour, dressing-room tales of Gloucestershire County Cricket Club and Bristol RFC and his enviable knowledge of New World vineyards. But mostly we will simply miss the man himself. Brendan Gallagher, The Daily Telegraph