Sport On TV:A welcome reminder of when City were no good


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The Independent Online

Blue Moon Rising (ITV4, Wednesday) is an odd alignment of the spheres. Charting Manchester City's progress in their first full season under the ownership of Sheikh Mansour, you can't help thinking it was doomed from the start.

The title does, after all, evoke the old Creedence Clearwater Revival hit 'Bad Moon Rising', which is all about bad luck. If there was to be a revival of City's fortunes after more than three decades without a trophy, it might have been wise to wait a little longer. Once in a blue moon this was not to be.

The film was commissioned by the club, who hired Bafta-winning director Stewart Sugg. He did Kiss Kiss (Bang Bang), which could have been a film about Mario Balotelli's bathroom. But there's nothing new under the moon and it's a standard account of life in the Premier League. And it's far too long; it makes City's 34-year weight for a cup seem like 34 seconds in comparison.

What sets the film apart from its straight-to-DVD cousins are the characters involved. Bernard Halford, the long-serving club secretary, is found lurking in the trophy room, lovingly fondling a replica ship and a ceramic cow – perhaps that was from the Milk Cup in the Eighties.

Then there are the long-suffering, fanatical fans. "City are the reason I vote Conservative," says Adam White. "I don't know anything about politics, I don't take any interest in it." He has appropriately set up a "debt consolidation" agency. There is a general lack of hair among the blue brethren, no doubt because they have spent their lives tearing it out.

When City go on a run of seven consecutive draws at the start of the season, you wonder how many times they dragged the camera crew around those matches before leaving hours of footage on the cutting room floor – along with all the swearwords.

In that 2009-10 season City went on to lose a Carling Cup semi-final to United, then narrowly missed out on Champions' League football to Spurs. So the film stands as a football artefact, an unintentionally deft portrayal of the long-suffering fan. Even after 34 years, City's followers weren't ready to reach the moonlit uplands: "The first semi-final of your life... How can you enjoy that?"

To add to the museum feeling, there are interviews with some bloke called Carlos Tevez. Of course his English isn't very good so there's a translator on hand to provide subtitles. Well we wouldn't want any misunderstandings, would we?

Talking of the very rich and very misunderstood... Tamara Ecclestone, daughter of motor-racing supremo Bernie, allowed the world a glimpse of her tortured life on Billion $$ Girl (Channel 5, Friday). She has about 20 dogs to populate her life and make her feel popular. "They don't want anything from you," she gushed. "They don't know about money, or..." That was the end of the sentence, perhaps because she doesn't know about anything else except... money.

It's not her fault, though, poor dear. She's fed up with being seen as "this really spoilt, really stupid, vacuous, empty human being" and just wants to escape from the associations with her father. So that will be why she decided to launch a new perfume with the name "One Formula" then. Perhaps she could start a rival sport, racing her dogs against each other. It might be more interesting than F1.