Sport on TV: Weight of a guilty conscience but it fails to pack a punch
Sunday 02 December 2007
It's what Ricky Hatton must have dreamed of before he went up to welterweight. He loves to binge on junk food and pints between visits to the ring, and his biggest fight used to be shedding the pounds. On 'Binge Britain: Diet Doctors Specials' (Five, Wednesday) European female flyweight boxing champion Cathy Brown was told to consume three fast-food meals a day for a fortnight to show what the damage would do. She put on three inches around the waist and her metabolic rate advanced by seven years. Imagine if she liked her lager too.
Twenty-one portions of chips, 13 burgers, 12 bacon butties, seven curries, three fry-ups, three pizzas, two Chinese and probably a partridge in a pear tree too, except the pears would not have been allowed. And one very sore ring.
The series features six super-fit athletes being force-fed while banned from physical exercise, but at least Cathy had some choice. The others were allowed just one thing; showjumper Oliver Skeete can only eat cheese more fromage than dressage.
Since the British spend 2.7m a year on junk food, many would be happy to take up the challenge; 37-year-old Cathy's metabol-ism may have gone haywire but it was that of a 12-year-old in the first place. The fact is that Cathy's 960 grams of fat and 35,300 calories are not as horrific as they may seem. Government guidelines stipulate we should eat 980 grams of fat in the equivalent period, and some 25,000 calories. On holiday, one could easily pile on a lot more. So that's why 60 per cent of us are officially classified 'obese'.
It was hardly 'Super Size Me', the award-winning film in which Morgan Spurlock ate McDonald's food for a month. It seems silly to inflict chronic constipation on those who look after their bodies so zealously, and it does not address the real problem.
The only temptation that Cathy Brown is likely to give in to is moving up to the heavyweight division.
The second series of 'Inside Sport' ends tomorrow on BBC1, and there have been few highlights despite the high-profile interviewees. Last week it was David Beckham, the day after losing to Croatia, in his East End Academy which hopes to produce tomorrow's stars. We might have hoped for more revelations than "The hairstyles have been part of my career as well".
It was funny when he walked into a room and all the children ignored him. Perhaps there were so many pictures of him on the walls that they thought he wasn't real, or maybe he really is yesterday's man.
It's a story waiting for an ending, unlike 'Blue Revolution' (Sky One, Wednesday), which charted the rise of Chelsea under Jose Mourinho, but stopped at the end of last season, thus missing the departure of the Special One. Perhaps it's better that way. Who really wants to see celebrity fan and king "luvvie" Dickie Attenborough weeping? Give us brother David's 'Blue Planet' any day.
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