A funny Ryan Giggs - and then the real one

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Animated films are traditionally made for family entertainment, and the recent success of Nick Park's short features starring a misguided inventor and his dog will have reinforced that impression. But anyone sitting down to watch Doppelganger (Channel 5) expecting whimsical humour will have been in for an unpleasant surprise: it was more malice and vomit than Wallace & Gromit.

But if you take your comedy black, it was just the thing. The vomitee, for instance, was a Plasticine Ryan Giggs, belching and swaying his way back from a night on the tiles and pausing on his doorstep for a technicolour yawn into an upturned traffic cone. Ryan Giggs? Night on the tiles? Television doesn't come much more shocking, and that was the central premise of Nick Donkin's film: for the bilious little figure was not the real Ryan Giggs, but an evil clone or Doppelganger produced after much experimentation by the warped Reggie Backhander to swell the ranks of his favourite football team, City. Just in case you hadn't got the hint, City's assortment of malformed hulks (an experimental formation indeed) played in light blue, while their rivals, United, sported red and white.

The real Ryan (that is, the animated real Ryan) watched helplessly, tied to a pillar in Backhander's subterranean lair, as his warped double prepared to take the field at Wembley against United. It would not do to reveal too much of the surrealist plot, but we can hint that a tutu-clad dancing gorilla is crucially involved, and that the Plasticine Jimmy Hill meets a cruel fate (popular touch, that.)

The short film is due for a cinema release shortly, where it is guaranteed to put a good many people off their refreshments ("Ice creams! Traffic cones!") and make a good many more laugh.

The fact that Doppelganger was produced "in association with Reebok" may have had something to do with the hitherto elusive star's appearance on the chat-show that immediately followed the film, The Jack Docherty Show (C5). Although with hindsight, Docherty may have wished that he had invited on the little Plasticine pukey version instead.

Giggs's lengthy Ferguson-sanctioned silence means that he has become celebrated for sharp-suited taciturnity, football's version of Austin Powers, International Man of Mystery. But the reality, as Docherty discovered, is more Ryan Giggs, Welsh Man of Monosyllables.

Interviewing Giggs is a bit like playing squash against a wall made of blancmange: you don't get much bounce. "Jimmy Hill met a nasty fate in that film," Docherty said. "How do you feel about that?" "Well," Ryan replied, "I've met Jimmy on a few occasions, and he's always been very good to me." Hmm. "Has it been strange at Manchester United without Eric Cantona around?" "Well, we've been very lucky at United, we've got a great squad of players and we've filled the gap." Groan.

"What's your typical day?" Docherty persisted. "People say it's just one hour of work, then you go home." "Well, yeah, it is." At last! A laugh, albeit an unintentional laugh. Giggsy was getting the hang of things, and decided to chuck in another gag. "We play so many games that you just have to go home and relax - or you go shopping" (raised eyebrows, smirk).

At this stage his interlocutor - very much the poor man's Jay Leno - thought that the sunny side of Giggs had come out. He pressed on. "Shopping, yeah - what does Beckham buy?" But it was a false dawn. Giggs replied: "You'd have to ask Beckham that," and Docherty cracked. "Is it a real drag," he gently enquired, "being Welsh?" One suspects that Docherty will not be given many more chances to interview sensitive young footballers. One also suspects that this will bother him not a jot.

Monday's Light Lunch (Channel 4), also had a football connection, in that the presenters, Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins, were both wearing football strips, although quite why was never adequately explained. The concept of the show is that a celebrity comes on and cooks lunch for another couple of celebrities, while the presenters ask a few daft questions and generally get in the way. If this doesn't sound bad enough, it's all done in the kind of post-Big-Breakfast "Hey, this is live so it's all part of the fun if we get it wrong" manner. Excruciating.

The celebrity chef on this occasion was the sprinter John Regis, who prepared spicy chicken with rice and plantain, or "KFC To Make You Run Faster", according to a placard held up by Mel, or it might have been Sue. This looked like a tasty confection, but not exactly the stuff to inspire world record attempts. "Would you eat this before a race?" asked Sue (or Mel). "Not with this much spice in it," Regis admitted.

The celebrity guzzlers were Angus Deayton and some bloke off Brookside. In honour of Deayton, a Manchester United supporter, Mel and Sue broached a bottle of United's own-label Chardonnay. "A good year," Mel observed. "But then most of them are, for United." Oops. I've just noticed that this programme was a repeat. But then bad lunches can do that to you.

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