Blinded by the sleight and slight of camera

Sport on Video

I would be the first to admit that getting paid to watch sport on television is a pretty cushy number, on a par with quality control work at Maison Krug or a post in the road- testing department at Mates. But just as bubbles no doubt get up the nose of the champagne tester, and the smell of burning rubber must irritate the Mates operative, so there is the occasional drawback to writing this column. For instance, the annual avalanche of sports videos from kindly acquaintances who seem to think them the ideal gift. Presumably they are the same people who leave milk out for the milkman at this time of year, and post their electrician a fuse.

They are cluttering up the sports desk and providing a constant temptation to misguided pilferers, so the only decent thing to do is to review the things and get them out of the way until next year's consignment arrives.

Top of the pile in every sense was One Foot in the Groin (Astrion), presented by Angus Deayton, a man who has built an entire career on his ability to raise only one eyebrow. The video is dedicated to, in Deayton's words: "The heroic few who make the effort to plot, scheme, cheat, lie or bung their way to victory," and what a shower they are.

The usual suspects are on display: Ben Johnson and Diego Maradona, John McEnroe and Zola Budd. There's a wonderfully inventive South African marathon runner (he got on a bus), and an elegant sequence of great diving footballers intercut with a synchronised swimming display. The Foul of the Century competition features as front runners two goalkeeping greats, Harald Schumacher's aerial assault on Patrick Battiston, and Mark Bosnich's attempt to decapitate Jurgen Klinsmann. But the winner by a long way, with the gonad-mangling challenge that gives the video its title, is dear old Graeme Souness.

Deayton supplies suitably cynical links while calmly demonstrating yet uncharted methods of cheating, mostly involving sleight of camera. These prompted the shameful notion that if the new English Cricket Board really want to give England a chance of winning the Ashes next summer they should even now be working on a way of inserting a crack video editor into the line of evidence between reality and the third umpire's screen. It's amazing what you can do with a bit of fade and wipe.

Only An Excuse - Out of Its Box (PNE Video) is a football comedy sketch compilation that received only the skimpiest of showings on national television, being otherwise confined to BBC Scotland. One or two impenetrably tartan gags apart, it is fine stuff. The drivelling McIlvanney twins hit an authentic note: "There can be no place in football for players who commit the unacceptable, then cannot accept the inevitable when it arrives on their doorstep like an inevitable thing." Alistair McGowan's Trevor Brooking is even funnier than the real thing, but to English viewers the Ossie Ardiles sketch will always remain a mystery. English into Scots into Argentine is an accent too far.

Football fans south of the border can tuck into Unseen Fantasy Football (PNE Video). The central premise here is people making complete fools of themselves, and that applies not only to Messrs Baddiel, Skinner and Statto, but plenty of their guest stars as well. Basil Brush features in a wonderfully nonsensical exchange which suggests that he would be better named Basil Lush, and a similarly well- lubricated Jimmy Hill gives one of the more obstreporous interviews of modern times. At one stage he looks ready to chin whoever asks the next question, and there would be no getting up from such an assault. Another lowlight is Jurgen Klinsmann's rendition of "Three Lions", but even that is more easily comprehensible than Jeff Astle's version, even though the latter is supposed to be in English.

Ultimate Cricket '96 (Twentieth Century Fox) is a trundle through the cricket season at military medium pace courtesy of Sky. It's not a bad memento of the season, but it is marred by a relentlessly self- promoting introduction. Sky are so mad keen on telling their viewers how good they are that you sometimes wonder whether, deep down, they really believe it themselves. In this case it is a thoroughly pointless exercise since anyone who gets to see the plug will already have bought the video. The best fun you can have with this tape is fast-forwarding through Charles Colvile's bits.

Finally, two turkeys. One hesitates to criticise someone as forthright as Mick "The Munch" Skinner, but his Out to Munch (PNE Video), which concerns "The hardest hits, the toughest tackles and the biggest boshes from league and union" would have benefited considerably from a script that wasn't by Mick "The Munch" Skinner. That is, it would have benefited from a script. Bosh? It's tosh.

Eric Hall's Monster Hits (PNE Video, yet again) is a ham-fisted and cynical exercise in self-promotion that is about as funny as a road accident. If you received it for Christmas, you need some new friends.

News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
News
Robyn Lawley
people
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100  ... he was into holy war way before it was on trend
Life and Style
lifeDon't get caught up on climaxing
Life and Style
food + drinkVegetarians enjoy food as much as anyone else, writes Susan Elkin
Arts and Entertainment
Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) and Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint)
newsBloomsbury unveils new covers for JK Rowling's wizarding series
News
scienceScientists try to explain the moon's funny shape
Sport
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
As Loki in The Avengers (2012)
filmRead Tom Hiddleston's email to Joss Whedon on prospect of playing Loki
Voices
voices In defence of the charcoal-furred feline, by Felicity Morse
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Education Recruitment Consultant- Learning Support

£18000 - £30000 per annum + Generous commission scheme: AER Teachers: Thames T...

All Primary NQT's

£100 - £120 per day + per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Description Calling a...

DT Teacher - Food Technology

£100 - £145 per day + Pension and travel: Randstad Education Maidstone: SUPPLY...

Supply Teachers Needed in Thetford

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Supply teachers neede...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star