Sport on TV: Blades of glory from Beharry but Vanilla Ice is cool customer
Sunday 16 January 2011
So they kept the champagne on ice for a week. We will just have to wait a few more hours until the man they rather misleadingly described as a "cricket legend" struts his stuff in Dancing on Ice (ITV1, Sunday). The anticipation is agonising as we wait for Dominic Cork to pop out.
Cork, who intends to keep playing cricket in his 40th year, has always performed as if he was on edge. "I like to use my nerves in a positive way," he said, so he'll be giving the other competitors a few verbals and questioning the judges' decisions. There must be a skating equivalent of his star-shaped method of appealing to the umpire. Never mind the corkscrew manoeuvre, it's time for the "planetary nebula".
Tony Gubba knows all about the terminology and has found his true calling as a commentator after years spent suffocating under John Motson's pile of useless facts. Dolpin lifts, the Cinderella, all well and good, but sometimes you think he's just making it up as he goes along. "The rotating Isle of Man"? Come on, Tony, we're not that gubba-lible.
He was straight into his slippery stride for this new series, greeting Kerry Katona's efforts with the quip: "She wants to show she's still an Atomic Kitten, not just an alley cat." Katona looked very confused – this ain't Iceland, darlin' – but maybe she thought dancing on ice was some kind of party drug trial. It was a relief to see one of her children in the audience. Who knows where the others were, but at least one of them was being looked after.
Gubba was more complimentary about Angela Rippon, perhaps because she is from his generation of Seventies Saturday evenings on the BBC. The former newsreader twirled for Morecambe and Wise 35 years ago and wowed the nation but this is a crueller world and she was soon sent ice-packing – though not before Gubba had praised the "more mature lady": "Angela has still got great legs. She even wobbles gracefully." So do Weebles, and they lost their appeal sometime back in the 1970s too.
Still, it's a good job the show is on ITV because Rippon, 66, probably wouldn't have got anywhere near the BBC – only hideously unsuitable oldies are invited on their talent shows so we can just laugh at them. She didn't survive the viewers' poll but Johnson Beharry VC, the only living soldier to hold the military's highest honour for bravery, is not likely to be voted off any time soon.
He saved the lives of 30 men in Iraq, then fell into a coma with a one per cent chance of survival. "I want other soldiers to see that there is hope," he said, and with lines like that he could slit Jason Gardener's throat with his skates – that move is called "ice and a slice" – and still go through to next week.
From the sub-zero sublime to the ridiculous, and ageing white rapper Vanilla Ice, also known as Robert van Winkle. Like his namesake, you wondered what he had been up to for the last 20 years. The answer, it seems, is practising his figure-skating.
He may be about as welcome in modern rap music as Angela Rippon – with a hip replacement here and a hop there – yet he seemed a lot cooler than in his heyday, though that's not very hard and it may have just been because of the temperature in the auditorium. But in the battle of the ageing C-listers, it looks like Cork had better get his skates on.
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