Sport on TV: Marriage of sweet music and the sweet science

Charlie, studying fine art at Oxford, has led a charmed existence. "Charlie has drawn a royal flush in the poker hand of life," his mum says, contentedly. "The good fairy was there at his baptism."

He's not so sure. "I've never really liked this golden-boy tag," he says. "I feel like I've taken the easiest, the scenic path through life." That was about to change when a BBC camera crew turned up to film his painful entry into the Oxford University Amateur Boxing Club. The excellent Storyville: Blue Blood (BBC 2, Sunday) followed Charlie and other aspirants trying to make the team for the annual match against Cambridge, won for the last two years by the other lot.

Charlie is the unlikeliest boxer imaginable. He's a classical singer. He looks as if he's just left Eton. And when he starts sparring under the slightly concerned eye of Des the coach, he gets knocked about. He keeps waking in the night with blood in his mouth. He goes to the doctor. The doctor tells him to stop what he's doing, now. Funny, that.

He does for a while, but only for a while. When he returns, Des is unsure but a good showing in the fight-off gets him the middleweight slot.

On a highly raucous fight night at Oxford Town Hall, Charlie's team-mates come up short. The pattern becomes familiar: a pasting in the first round, rallying in the second and third to lose on points.

For Charlie's fight, there's a wonderful opera on the soundtrack, and the brilliant device of giving Des's last instructions in subtitles under the music. "Hey, look!" He slaps him on the chest. "Look as if you want it! Get some anger going!"

Charlie starts cold, but a lyrical passage from the opera kicks in and he takes over. There's silence as the referee holds their hands at the end, then a triumphant chord as he raises Charlie's. Beautifully done.

Having got his Blue, Charlie retired from the ring and was last seen captaining the University ballroom dancing team.

The Iranian racing driver Laleh Seddigh (Angelina Jolie channelling Michael Schumacher) has also battled manfully against the odds – being a woman and all that – and in This World: Girl Racer (BBC 2, Tuesday) she had her own solution to getting ahead of the boys.

She had two cars, one blue, one yellow. Just before a big race, the camera crew visited her workshop, where the more powerful yellow car had disappeared and the "blue" car had had a new paint job. It didn't help, and she retired from the race with engine failure. And somebody noticed the switch, so she's banned for a year. With such resourcefulness, I think she'll be back.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
The veteran poverty campaigner Sir Bob Geldof issues a stark challenge to emerging economies at the Melbourne HIV/Aids conference
health
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and John Malkovich talk Penguins of Madagascar at Comic-Con
comic-con 2014Cumberbatch fans banned from asking about Sherlock at Comic-Con
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Pratt stars in Guardians of the Galaxy
filmGuardians Of The Galaxy should have taken itself a bit more seriously, writes Geoffrey Macnab
News
Sir Chris Hoy won six Olympic golds - in which four events?
news
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
News
Lars Ulrich of Metallica performs on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury 2014
people
Arts and Entertainment
film
News
video
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Up my street: The residents of the elegant Moray Place in Edinburgh's Georgian New Town
tvBBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past
Extras
indybest
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

Associate Recruitment Consultant - IT

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: Computer Futures has been est...

IT Technician (1st/2nd line support) - Leatherhead, Surrey

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Technician (1st/2nd line support)...

Business Analyst

£300 - £350 per day: Orgtel: Job Title: Business Analyst Rate: £300 - £350 per...

C# .NET Developer

£290 - £291 per day + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Manchester C#.NET ...

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform