Robin Scott-Elliot: From the sublime to the crudest, crassest and most depressingly ridiculous

View From The Sofa: In a League of their Own, Sky; Rugby World Cup, ITV

It is one of this column's rules – I have an unwritten constitution – to try to find the good in any performance; Robbie Savage has lovely hair, Alan Shearer is getting better as a pundit (he had an interesting piece of analysis about Chelsea on Saturday but I neglected to make a note and have forgotten what it was, thereby possibly undermining my own argument), and the makers of In a League of their Own have got the title spot on.

It stands alone, and seems proud to do so, as the crudest, crassest, most depressing programme on TV, although I haven't watched BBC 3 recently so stand to be corrected. On last week's show there were jokes – using the term in same sense that Jedward call themselves singers – about giving Arsène Wenger oral sex, giggling about men kissing, Heather Mills having one leg and a comedian shouting "fucking posh fish" at a tank of fish (as opposed to randomly turning on the underwater upper classes).

There is another problem with the show. It's rubbish. Here's a joke from James Corden on what Phil Taylor likes to have for dinner: "Double eggs, treble chips then finish on a double ice cream." "I'm only joking," said Corden, helpfully, at one point. Corden appears to be turning into Ricky Gervais playing James Corden. Maybe the whole thing is a Corden in-joke, The Office of the comedy quiz world. There has to be something to explain its excruciating awfulness.

If that was a wasted hour, the two Rugby World Cup semi-finals were reviving examples of why there is such appetite for sport and its spin-offs on TV. Whatever the rights and wrongs of the red card in the first semi-final (which was badly missed by the host broadcasters – the caption on screen was the first viewers knew of it), it was an engrossing spectacle, notably the final few minutes as Wales desperately sought one last chance with the clock on the corner of the screen already turned red. The best line of Saturday's semi-final, though, came from the French coach, Marc Lièvremont, who remarked in the build-up that the danger with his country was "we become too self-satisfied". The French? Whatever next?

Yesterday was another brutal, bruising match-up that unfolded amid a cacophonous atmosphere and made for riveting TV. "For anyone who loves their rugby ferocious and physical this was it," enthused Lawrence Dallaglio. The game ended with a lonely Australian being swamped by four black jerseys deep in his own half. Throughout there was a constant suspicion that there were more than 15 New Zealanders on the pitch, such were the numbers of black shirts.

Pitchside, Don Fitzpatrick had on the same black shirt he sported for their quarter-final – it will no doubt be back for final – and pronounced himself happy before heading off to potter around his veg patch. Fitzpatrick was "uptight" beforehand – which explained why his deadly smile was wider than ever. He is not to be missed ahead of – and after – the final.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Books should be for everyone, says Els, 8. Publisher Scholastic now agrees
booksAn eight-year-old saw a pirate book was ‘for boys’ and took on the publishers
Life and Style
Mary Beard received abuse after speaking positively on 'Question Time' about immigrant workers: 'When people say ridiculous, untrue and hurtful things, then I think you should call them out'
tech
Life and Style
Most mail-order brides are thought to come from Thailand, the Philippines and Romania
life
News
i100
Life and Style
tech
Voices
Margaret Thatcher, with her director of publicity Sir Gordon Reece, who helped her and the Tory Party to victory in 1979
voicesThe subject is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for former PR man DJ Taylor
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions