THE COUCH POTATO: Super Saturday helps BBC serve up TV gold
3:00pm Friday 10th August 2012 in News
ONLY the most diehard, soulless sports hater will have been left cold by events of the last fortnight.
London 2012 has been a triumph, Team GB’s medal haul succeeded all expectations and Super Saturday, the greatest day in British sport, was the most thrilling few hours of television in years.
I’ve watched it all, I’ve surfed the 24 red-button channels and can confirm that the BBC’s Olympics coverage has been comprehensive and, on the whole, outstanding.
It deserves a gold medal, albeit gold-plated rather than solid bullion, having lost the odd tenth of a point on execution here and there.
Gary Lineker drowned in puns: “Kenyan police officer Vivian Cheruiyot is in arresting form in the 10,000 metres,” introduced the wrong athletics events and dazzled Sean Kerly with his memory: “Here with us is a hockey gold medallist from Barcelona 20 years ago. I remember it well.”
Kerly: “It was Seoul in 1988.”
Gabby Logan, on the late shift promising “live beach ball action”, needs to learn when not to interrupt guests (ever, Gabby, is the answer, not all the ruddy time).
Her fridge magnet medal boards and Big Ben goldometer on Olympics Tonight should have been canned as soon as it became clear they were cheapening moments of British glory that should be treasured.
And if I don’t hear a burst of Spandau Ballet again, it will be too soon.
Hazel Irvine must have thought she was speaking for us all when she announced: “This afternoon Great Britain’s handball men play Iceland who you might remember four years ago won that amazing surprise silver medal.”
Ah, like it was yesterday.
But as I say, the BBC should be praised for much – the punditry of Michael Johnson and Ian Thorpe, the poetry of Eddie Butler, the commentary of Hugh Porter at the velodrome, and the presenting of Clare Balding.
But for every Chris Hoy, there’s an Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards.
For every Clare Balding, there’s a Sonali Shah.
A Blue Peter presenter in kit form, she’s been fluffing her lines and making up new weightlifting events over on BBC3: “Congratulations to Zoe Smith for breaking the British record for the snatch and jerk,” an event which can only be shown after the 9pm watershed, I believe.
She’s from the me-me-me school of presenting: “I was at Wimbledon for the men’s final,” “I went to the canoe sprint world championships in Hungary last year,” “I trained in taekwondo for three years,” “I come to work at 6.30am and I’m usually very tired”. Diddums.
Yet a strange thing happened.
For all the vast choices available, I found myself unable to switch over from Sonali Shah, from the moment she encouraged viewers to check out the “BBC inter-attractive player”.
From there on, I heard the following: “We’re going live to the time kwondo for the women’s piriliminary rounds,” which I’m fairly sure is a starter dish at Nando’s.
“Now it’s time for some table team tennis.”
“The Riverbank Arena is actually just a stone’s throw from the BBC studio here, if you’ve got an absolutely amazing throw.”
“Some disappointment there for the 49ers capsizing, because they capsized.”
And this anecdote: “Hannah Mills was the first Welsh athlete to make Team GB and she got a congratulatory message from Snoop Dogg. Not just any old random man called Snoop Dogg, the actually rapper Snoop Doog.”
Thanks for clarifying that, Sonali.
There I was, thinking she’d been congratulated by 54-year-old bin man Snoop Dogg, from Colchester.
So I’ll miss Sonali. I’ll miss the “time kwondo”. I’ll miss the 24 redbutton channels.
And looking at the schedules to see a programme called (Keith) Lemon La Vida Loca, I’m already missing the Olympics.
Pundits talk a load of old sport
SAY what? TV quotes from week two of the Olympics:
● Mike Tucker at the show jumping: “Three to go before Britain’s first individual, Scott Brash, and then coming right at the end of the 37, Ben Maher and Nick Skelton.
“They go 34th and 35th.”
● Graham Bell: “Some of the slow-motion replays are wonderful because you can really slow the sport down.”
●Richard Simmonds (sailing): “The start of race 10 happened during the 49er final. What’s happened since then? Well, the eyes of Rob Walker have been watching.” As opposed to his ears.
●John Inverdale: “It’s the most eagerly awaited Sunday evening of the athletics.” Not to mention, the only one.
●Ed Leigh during Frenchman Quentin Caleyron’s BMX seeding ride: “He is going round this course like garlic puree.”
●Australia’s Channel 9 commentator for BBC3: “And for Roderick Weusthof, his 76th goal for Korea in international hockey.”
Funny that, because his previous 75 were for Holland.
● And Sir Steve Redgrave: “I can’t say how much proud I am.”