Sport on TV: To be perfectly Frank, Bruno really should have hit Morgan
Sunday 22 April 2012
Frank Bruno first met Piers Morgan when the latter was a 19-year-old reporter on the South London News and the fighter was challenging for the world heavyweight title for the first time. Now Morgan is one of the richest presenters on television, and certainly the smuggest, and Bruno has spent the decade battling mental illness. If only Frank had lamped him that day back in the mid-Eighties, how different Britain might be. We could have avoided some of the worst excesses of tabloid journalism, culminating in headlines such as "Bonkers Bruno Locked Up".
Bruno put up a typically brave display on Piers Morgan's Life Stories (ITV1, Friday), not least in his sharp pink attire. "The most outrageous suit you've ever seen," said Morgan, and he's seen some suits in his time, most of them in a court of law. This series is like a form of rehab for Morgan, who has chatted to many of those he once vilified as a tabloid editor.
There remains a huge amount of public affection for Bruno, who delighted even those who had no interest in boxing – so Morgan had to tread warily, and not just to avoid a belated beating from the big man.
Given his legendary status, the roll call of those paying homage to Bruno was rather thin. Among them was Karl Howman, formerly of Brush Strokes, now seemingly imprisoned in the tower of a pantomime castle.
One of the problems with Bruno is that he didn't do very much after he left the ring in 1996 except put on a pair of tights. He spent too long with people telling him to look behind him when he needed to look be looking forward. With Morgan you can never be sure that he really is behind you.
* The London Olympics have become such an enormous event that we are on the verge of losing all sense of proportion. It's not about VIP traffic lanes and product endorsement enforcement, not even about legacy really. No, it's about athletes becoming legends and the posterity comes from their enduring fame. In 2012 Olympic Games - 100 Days To Go (BBC1, Wednesday) Auntie Beeb marked the milestone by trundling out some big names, not least Michael Johnson as presenter.
You know you've made it when you can come up with lines such as: "Olympic glory in my own country – I know what that feels like." Then Johnson interviewed Usain Bolt, who is one of the very few people on the planet who can get away with saying: "If I dominate the Olympics, I'll be a legend, I'll be a living legend walking around. Sounds good, though, yeah." The big smile, the disarming charm, the incredible talent, that's what it's all about. With everything pretty much in place, it would be nice to forget about all the other nonsense.
But there's no chance of that. Kenrick Sandy, choreographer for the Opening Ceremony, came up with: "I can't wait for this year, this year is now and I'm like, OK, let's do this thing." It's a line that could have come straight out of the mouth of Siobhan Sharpe, the PR guru in the BBC sitcom Twenty Twelve.
At the same strategy meeting, or whatever it was, we heard master of ceremonies Danny Boyle say: "There are other sections that are not to do with dance. They're to do with the movement of forces. That's all I can tell you." Thank goodness for that.
The whole shebang could become unbearably cringeworthy, like the footage of Tom Daley's dad begging for a hug in the middle of a press conference. Tom, who has had to deal with his father's death over the past year, described his nightmares about diving into the mouth of a shark. Now that really would make a decent stunt at the Opening Ceremony.
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