Worst new series: In January, Channel 4 foisted Under the Moon on us, presented by magazine editor Danny Kelly, and Tim Clark, an alleged comedian who really should stick to soft drinks ads. I have to admit I've never watched it all through the night, but then I doubt anyone else has. The programme hasn't wanted for potentially interesting guests, but every discussion has had that desultory "what shall we talk about now?" feeling.
The nadir came when Greg Chappell was given all the time he wanted, and then more, to plug his total hair replacement system. It was scant consolation that by that time I was probably the only mug still watching as the programme sold, at a knock down price, whatever soul it possessed.
Still, there was worse (I'd like to insert a few choice words about Channel 5 at this point, but I'm still not retuned - Richard Ingrams, who used to review TV for The Spectator despite not actually possessing a set, is my inspiration here).
Sky One's Eat My Sport fronted by Lofty of EastEnders and Statto from Fantasy Football League is a perfect demonstration of how the medium takes subjects of apparently endless fascination, sucks all the life out of them, then dresses them up as cheap screen sellers. With Skinner and Baddiel, the humour was intended to reside in Statto's very unsuitability - a sort of Motson on Mogadon - but why make a bad joke worse by giving him his own series?
Best new series: Not quite curlish enough to put On Side (BBC1) on the worst new series short list, I'm not quite charitable enough to consider it for best new series. It needs more substance, less sycophantic froth. More sport, less showbiz. John Inverdale may be flavour of the year, but not this palate.
The best new series was also the most pleasant surprise. Sky One's football soap Dream Team had a cast of engaging characters all well played, and plot lines and situations that were rooted in reality and, although he didn't hang around for more than the first few weeks, Ron Atkinson was a revelation as Harchester United's manager. At 58, he's probably a bit old to be considering second careers, but I could easily see him doing the job, as he would say, in something like Prime Suspect or Our Friends in the North.
Best documentary: There were several contenders. ITV's "There's Only One Barry Fry", for example, followed the eponymous hero, who I always imagined selling second-hand cars in Albert Square, as he took over Peterborough and came to realise that running a club on the breadline is living in the trenches dressed in head-to-toe dayglo orange and dancing the jig. He makes for such great TV, though, the film should have been ever better than it was.
Best of all was "Footballers Wives" (Channel 4). On one hand there was Suzy Walker, the wife of Spurs goalkeeper Ian, with her naff cable show, "Hiya!" the most unforgiving sequence featuring her failing to remember her name for a trailer.
Walker came across as venal, vapid and vacuous. At the other end of the spectrum, where real life exists, was Ann Lee, wife of Jason. As the Nottingham Forest striker pondered a move to Watford, Ann looked after their kids and semi-detached home and discoursed eloquently on her virtual widowhood. "I hate football," she says at one point, in superb contrast to the twitterings of the other two wives. "I think netball should be on telly, not football." She gets the golden thumbs up from me.
And so to the final category in my personal awards ceremony, and my favourite;
Dick head of the year:
(I picture a trophy stitched together by Damien Hirst from the appropriate bodyparts then cast in fool's gold).
There used to be only one contender for this but he has finally been usurped. Chris Eubank has fought manfully this year to keep his title, especially with his recent appearances on They Think Its All Over and A Question of Sport. But he has been eclipsed by the boundless talent of Naseem Hamed to make an arse of himself.
On Christmas night "Starting Blocks" (ITV) had footage of the young Hamed, wearing what appeared to be an old cushion cover, landing flat on his behind as he tried to vault the ropes. This should be shown everytime he fights, as an antidote to his 20-minute laser disco entrances. He's a fine boxer (though not that fine, as Kevin Kelley underlined recently). But as his performance on "Sports Review of the Year" (BBC1) demonstrated so hilariously, he is without equal in the toss-pot department.
They should get Ann Lee to manage him. She'd sort him out. In fact, strike that. She's too good for him. Should she ever get sick of Jason, though, she knows where to find me.Reuse content