Saturday, 20 February 2010

On thin ice

I heard a fantastically fatuous piece of commentary on the BBC red button this morning while watching (what turned out to be) the women's skeleton gold medallist, Great Britain's Amy Williams, hurtling down the course on a glorified tea tray at about ten thousand miles an hour.

Now, I don't know what the commentator's name was, but - perhaps understandably over-excited at the prospect of GB winning their first Winter Olympic solo gold medal since Robert Falcon Scott walked off with the cross country skiing gong in 1912 - he blurted the following, Alan Partridge-esque sentences out:

"She can afford a couple of bumps now. What she can't afford is to come off her sled."

Oh, really? I'd assumed that, had she come a cropper while effectively sliding along a frozen rollercoaster at a recklessly high velocity, she'd have immediately sprung back up, dusted herself off and leapt back on the sled, from where she'd have surely sped to the fastest time and the accompanying gold medal despite the minor inconvenience of having just been rushed to the nearest emergency ward.

Then I turned over and found Steve Cram commentating on the women's curling.

Which does all rather leave one with the nagging suspicion that we possibly don't have a plethora of expert commentators on winter sports here in the UK. Who'd've thunk it?

Anyway, this is all forcing me to reassess my views on commentators of other televised sports, who I've often been critical of in the past (albeit possibly not on this blog - or have I? It's so hard to remember). I can't imagine ITV's Peter Drury or the BBC's Tony Gubba, for example, coming out with a statement as crushingly pointless and banal as this:

"Arsenal are leading by two goals here in the Champions' League final and are cruising to victory over Real Madrid. But the last thing they need now is to concede eleven or twelve goals themselves."

Or for an athletics commentator (tries desperately to think of an athletics commentator that's not Ron Pickering or David Coleman... Steve Cram!) to spout forth the following:

"What a run from Paula Radcliffe in the marathon - she's leading by a country mile! But with just eight hundred metres left to go in the race, the last thing she needs is to stop running, squat down next to the pavement and have a dump."


I, Ludicrous - Quite Extraordinary mp3


dickvandyke said...

The Irish team wouldn't compete due to the course not having been gritted.

As we grow older and wiser/more cynical, it's harder to differentiate between the reality and the piss-take.

The BBC seem desperate to be seen in giving the Licence Payer value for money by spreading their commentator pool to its outer limits. Unfortunatly, the discerning viewer may just pick up on the difference between value for money and a polar bear limbo dancing through a South African Shanty Town.

Claire Balding and Rugby League, Steve Cram and Curling, Sue Barker and Figure Skating, and that nice young Asian lad and Horse Racing.

Brandan Foster can speak for 4 hours of a Marathon with a mouthful of marbles and not say anything at all worth listening to.

What about Tony Gubba on Celebrity Ice Dancing? Now there's a 'Pension Pot' gig on a plate - well away from the windswept gantry of a Roots Hall Johnstone's Paint Trophy replay.

Speaking of which, the Beeb has barely recovered from the pert poolside Sharron Davies smuggling peanuts amidst that lycra silicon combination.

And is it not time to pick Jonathan Davies up by the ears and drop him down a disused Merthyr mine shaft?

Ray French - euthanasia - discuss.

Pete Green said...

I heard a good one from Mark Pougatch, interviewing David Moyes on Five Live this morning.

"So in terms of league position, is the aim to finish as high as you can?"

Kippers said...

It is frustrating, how even the most experienced of broadcasters can seem so awestruck and reverential when conducting post-match interviews with football managers. The question that most gets on my wick is the one where they ask them to quantify their degree of happiness or depression at the outcome of a game:

"So, Sir Alex/ Rafa/'arry, how pleased/disappointed are you with that result?".

What do they expect, the interviewee to stretch their arms out to their full extent and say "Ooh, this pleased!"?

Drives me bonkers!

The one positive aspect of Tony Gubba commentating on the celeb ice dancing is that it means we never have to endure him doing the highlights of the day's least important Premier League game on MotD2 of a Sunday night for twelve weeks or so.

I'm just dreading the day when Brendan Foster finally loses his marbles.

dickvandyke said...

Alan Weekes often used to get the 6th slot on MOTD Cup Games. His Ice Skating stuff in the 70s and 80s was always a laugh.
I suspect most of the best ever commentators are now either out to grass, gaga, or don a sheepskin in the sky. (Not Sky Sky, but sky sky): David Vine, David Coleman, Brian Moore, Dan Maskell, Bill Maclaren, Kenneth Wolstenhome, Harry Carpenter, Peter O'Sullevan, Eddie Waring!