Making a drama out of OJ's crisis

There are movies that get bought in as part of a larger package of films that a TV company actually wants, then languish unseen for years until either desperation or scandal force them onto the screen. Goldie and the Boxer, receiving its UK premiere tonight (12.20am C4), has all the hallmarks of being one of those. This sentimental made-for-TV yarn of a cute child and a large man who hits people for a living was made in 1979, produced by and starring OJ Simpson.

OJ has, of course, recently become big box-office: most people know who he is these days, even if they haven't been tuning in to coverage of his trial. Whether he would ever have achieved major renown outside his home country - where, as a sport star and well-off middle-class black role model, he represented roughly what the Fashanus represent to us - is debatable. He is certainly decorative, but no one ever listed histrionic talent among his gifts. Then again, he was very, very funny in Naked Gun 331/3.

But it's a fairly sure shot that Goldie and the Boxer will pull bigger audiences tonight than it deserves. And it's an interesting reflection on the way society has changed in the last 60-odd years: Fatty Arbuckle's career was destroyed by the notorious "champagne bottle" case. OJ's box- office value - and his future if he beats the murder rap - seems assured.