Robin Scott-Elliot: Corden to Carlton... TV heroes and villains of the sporting year

View from the Sofa: The New Year Honours List that counts
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The Independent Culture

The original intention was to watch A League of Their Own's Christmas special, but there is only so much of James Corden one man and a sofa can take. The ubiquitous roly-poly funny man has been imposed on us seemingly for life so we deserve a break for Christmas. Christmas with Gordon promised more but turned out to be about an angry former alleged Rangers player cooking rather than a behind-the-scenes look at the Scottish goalkeeper's festive season on Wearside. So instead here is the second annual View from the Sofa New Year Honours List.

The, if one may be so bold, award, merely a verbal trinket in truth, for presentational brevity – if you'll forgive a soupçon of irony – has a runaway winner, by a wider margin then Fred Trueman's bottom to put it another way and Sir Ian certainly does. David Gower.

Man of Steel Clare Balding. On the face of it Balding and Rugby League make as likely a pairing as the Pope and Lady Gaga teaming up to compete in the World Bridge Championship. But she (Balding not Gaga, although given the celebrity obsession sweeping BBC Sport, it is only a matter of time before Gaga pops up on a rainy afternoon in Salford) appears to do her homework assiduously and makes a thoroughly professional job of it, as she does to everything she's tasked with – another female presenter wasted by the BBC.

Team of the Year By a margin wider than Trueman, Colin Milburn and Samit Patel's backsides strung together, it's Sky's Test cricket. It is a side better balanced than one with 10 Garry Sobers and one Adam Gilchrist. Shane Warne holds up the Aussie end, while Hussain and Atherton display a sense of humour – often involving prodding angry old bear Botham until he lashes out – that was rarely seen during their time on the pitch. Just one request, please don't be dazzled by Flintoff's on-field record – leave him to the darts.

Unlikely love match of the year ITV and cricket. It was love at first sight, or rather ITV's executives' first sight of the pittance they had to pay to broadcast the Indian Premier League. It attracted huge viewing figures for ITV 4 and led to presenter Matt Smith being buttonholed in curry houses for his opinion. The spark was there and so when the Ashes highlights were touted around the cheque book came out. The show is a straight feed of the Australian commentary, which given the direction the series is heading in has made it the first stopping point for those who enjoy a glass of schadenfreude.

The Colonel Kurtz Memorial award for the most brooding presence on television Garth Crooks.

The best chum award Dan Walker. Down boy.

The Paul Merson award for the most unintelligible contribution to broadcasting There is no splitting Emmanuel Adebayor and Dean Windass. Who knows what the disgruntled City striker said during his time at the World Cup as he mumbled into his chest – at least Windass has bags of enthusiasm and gives it a decent bellow.

Chef of the year Carlton Palmer, the surprise star of a footballing Come Dine With Me. So that's why Graham Taylor kept picking him in the days before a huge backroom staff accompanied the England team.

The James Corden award for endlessly filling our screens to no discernible purpose Andrew Flintoff. And James Corden.