Matt Butler: Please, next year, give us some relief from the overdose of wackiness
View From The Sofa: Sport Relief/Match of the Day BBC 1
Let’s hope you’ve eaten, because here’s an image: Andrew Flintoff in beer-pot-hugging, every-sin-revealing, nothing-left-to-the-imagination lycra. The reason for this retina-searing sight was that the former cricketer was racing in the Olympic Park velodrome in aid of Sport Relief. He fell off, but still managed to beat a gamut of radio and TV faces – and at the same time underlined all that is wrong about the annual fund-raising jamboree.
Few would deny that BBC1’s six-hour takeover of Friday night’s TV is for a good cause, but why does Sport Relief have to be so arbitrarily wacky? Gary Lineker and David Walliams being faux flirty wacky. Geoff Hurst dancing with Eliza Doolittle wacky. Does Britain love wacky that much?
Five seconds of watching David Tennant interview child orphans who scavenge among steaming piles of rubbish in Sierra Leone to subsist no doubt left anybody with a heart in bits – and reaching for the phone to donate. But then it was straight into a special edition of Strictly Come Dancing, featuring Paralympians.
And guess what? As Flintoff had already shown, watching sportspeople do things they are patently hopeless at doesn’t inspire us to dig deep. And there was more holiday camp entertainment to come – with emphasis on the camp.
We were treated to Lord Sebastian Coe doing rhythmic gymnastics, while David Beckham did his Roger Bannister impression (no running, but he was wooden, so he was halfway there) on a special episode of Only Fools and Horses.
The TV and radio people who put themselves through hell for Sport Relief are immune to criticism. Jo Whiley, the Radio 2 DJ, walking and running for 26 hours on a treadmill was jaw-dropping, while Davina McCall’s cycle, swim and run from Edinburgh to London was similarly inspiring. But something dies inside us all when we watch Coe fail to grasp the basics of ribbon waving.
Russell Brand’s guest appearance on Saturday’s Match of the Day, also as part of Sport Relief’s festivities, was similarly painful.
Yes, the loquacious (his word) comedian used words like “belligerence” when picking apart West Ham’s loss to Manchester United, but his nervousness and attempts to be all punditty skewered anything supposed to be funny.
Brand self-consciously stumbled his way through semi-gags linking the bald referee to Phil Mitchell, the EastEnders villain, as he dissected Wayne Rooney’s 50-yard wonder goal for United. Alan Shearer piping up with an opinion was almost welcome.
So here’s a plea for the next Sport Relief. Let’s have either sportspeople doing something they are good at, or normal, if famous, folk doing something incredible – swimming round the Isle of Wight, doing laps of the Large Hadron Collider, that sort of thing.
It would make for a decent spectacle and there would be no need to suffer the wackiness. Or witness rotund ex-cricketers in skin-hugging gear. Now that would be a relief.
Actress sees off speculation about her face in an amazing way
Florida mother launched a petition to ban the sale of the dolls
Marvel has released first teaser trailer week early after it leaked online
Latest in Sport
Anderlecht vs Arsenal match report: Kieran Gibbs and Lukas Podolski pounce as Arsenal leave it late
How Real Madrid started copying Barcelona's old pass masters, and began reaping the rewards
Liverpool vs Real Madrid player ratings: Was Cristiano Ronaldo the star man? And how did Mario Balotelli fare?
Liverpool vs Real Madrid match report: Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema run Reds ragged at Anfield
Arsenal player ratings
- 1 Nokia no more: Microsoft drops once-ubiquitous mobile name – in favour of its Lumia brand
- 2 Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery: 'I'm living a fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
- 3 Banksy not arrested: Internet duped by fake report claiming artist's identity revealed
- 4 Australian café owner sparks debate after saying 'No' to having unruly children on premises
- 5 Paralysed man Darek Fidyka walks again after treatment by British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
£250 - £300 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT** Our...
£21000 - £31000 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: KS2 Teachers - Chelm...
£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ampersand Consulting LLP: SAP ABAP Developer - Rugb...
£80000 - £90000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: Working for an International Mul...