COUCH POTATO: Downpour filler was truly remarkable TV

Adrian Chiles (7107631)

Adrian Chiles (7107631)

First published in News

FORGET the Passport Office backlog. There’s a serious gap in the Foreign Office’s advice to holidaymakers going abroad this summer.

If you find yourself in the same resort as an ITV football pundit, leave. Immediately. It’s going to chuck it down.

It happened in Poland 18 months ago when Adrian Chiles and chums had to fill time during a monsoon.

And after two-and-a-half hours of the blandest ever Britain’s Got Talent final, followed by 22 minutes of dour goalless action between England and Honduras, we finally had some entertainment last Saturday night.

Four blokes in a tunnel talking about rain for half an hour, on primetime telly.

A truly remarkable TV moment that was farcical, hilarious and spellbinding.

Only, because of ITV’s squad rotation policy, seasoned ad-libbers Chiles and Lee Dixon were joined by newbies Ian Wright and Glenn Hoddle.

The four had scarpered for cover as lightning flashed above the Sun Life Stadium and the ref called the players off.

Armed only with two mics between the quartet and no monitors or adverts to save them, a geographical blunder in Chiles’ first sentence signalled the start of something special: “We’re all taking shelter here in Miami, the sunshine state.”

I’d have made more of the fact the state’s Florida, but he kept digging and chopping up his ladder for firewood.

Dixon attempted valiantly to steer the subject back to football, but I’m delighted to say the anchor was having none of it.

Chiles to the referee: “In this part of the world, do storms stay or move on?”

Either, he replied.

To Roy Hodgson: “Have you got your rainwear? Whatever you do, don’t erect a brolly.

“This is the last game before the World Cup. It’s the last chance. How about a bit of despair from you, Roy?”

Hodgson: “No, we can just wait and hope.”

Chiles: “You mean in your 75-strong team there’s not a meteorologist?”

He’d persuaded Wright to “talk as slowly as possible because we could be filling for hours” and heard Hoddle say: “At the end of the day they’re going to come off for half time,” when the host tempted fate: “We’ve spoken to the ref, the manager, who else?”

Tony Correa, it turned out, a man who “isn’t the stadium manager” but had the patience of a saint through Chiles’ aimless weather questions until he asked: “There’s not much in the way of a roof over the stadium.”

With that, the man who isn’t the stadium manager snapped.

Chiles: “Have you got any idea how many have left the stadium so far and have gone, drenched, to dry out?”

Correa: “If I wasn’t here with you, I would be able to give a prediction.”

The bad news was, then, that the match was about to restart.

But not before Gabriel Clarke asked ref Ricardo Salazer: “I saw you in the radar room around the corner. Describe what you were doing in there.”

“Tracking the radar.”

Chiles needed to salvage something from their overtime, and found it with a link to England’s clash against Italy tomorrow night: “If there is a storm interruption in Manaus then the narrative will be that this was a stroke of genius coming here to have a bit of practice.”

A stroke of genius, perhaps, but one without the hope of a repeat performance.

The BBC are covering the game, not ITV. Where’s the fun in that?

This week’s Couch Potato Spudulikes...

Jose Mourinho’s pitch invasion to floor Soccer Aid’s Olly Murs.

Holly Willoughby teasing This Morning’s beauty tips: “A lot of people with no eyebrows will be all ears today.”

ITV2’s I Wanna Marry Harry dope Maggie: “Am I a complete idiot or is this Prince Harry?” Two guesses, Maggie.

The Chase’s answer of the week: “King Charles I was imprisoned on which island before his execution?” “Alcatraz.”

Vet Mark Evans clinging on for dear life as the mind-of-its-own willy of a sedated elephant thrashed around wildly on C4’s Born In The Wild.

And Good Morning Britain’s Susanna Reid the day after Soccer Aid: “Ben Shephard has a mean tackle.” Crikey, you HAVE got to know your co-hosts well.

This week’s Couch Potato Spuduhates...

Good Morning Britain professional smirker Sean Fletcher mistaking a World Cup report from Rio de Janeiro for Wish You Were Here: “Nothing quite beats the feeling of the Ipanema sand between the toes.”

Big Brother’s EastEnders-inspired casting with back-stabbing, domineering alpha-females and spineless men.

Newsnight’s baffling ability to spell “Rwandan High Commissioner Williams Nkurunziza” and “South Sudan Justice Minister Paulino Wanawilla Unango” correctly but not the “Football Asasociation”.

And Simon Cowell presuming Mel B is the answer to X Factor’s woes. It’s a million per cent no from me.

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