Sport On TV: Presenters wearing a tie? Don't put your shirt on it
Sunday 16 September 2012
Let us consider men's fashion.
In particular, the tie question. There used to be no debate; presenters such as David Coleman and Dickie Davies wouldn't have been seen dead without one, impeccably knotted and colour co-ordinated with the obligatory jacket, as the latter's appearance in the nostalgia-drenched World of Sport: 1970s (ITV4, Monday) reminded us.
In more recent times, though, the open-shirted, smart-casual look has increasingly held sway. Yet this too involves careful choices, not least in the matter of buttoning. The BBC's trio of Formula One presenters at the Italian Grand Prix (BBC1, Sunday) illustrated the options: Jake Humphrey and Eddie Jordan went for the devil-may-care top-two-buttons-undone approach, while David Coulthard was a more restrained one-buttoner, complemented by a discreet white T-shirt nestling beneath.
Back in the studio for highlights of England's football World Cup qualifier against Ukraine (ITV1, Tuesday), and formality reigned again, with neckwear all round. Presenter Matt Smith looked dressed for a funeral, or at any rate a remake of Reservoir Dogs, with black suit and tie; Andy Townsend was a symphony of charcoal; and only Gareth Southgate provided a splash of colour via an orangey-red tie which perfectly matched the studio backdrop. Does he bring a selection with him, or was it just plain luck?
Mark Nicholas, who fronted the highlights of England's Twenty20 matches against South Africa (Channel Five, Monday, Wednesday) is a pretty pukka sort of a chap; if anyone was going to wear a tie you'd think it would be him. But no, he was a resolute two-buttoner, even in the dire weather conditions. Old Trafford ended in a washout, and Edgbaston looked to be going the same way before eventually being reduced to 11 overs a side.
The biffing of England newbie Jos Buttler, 32 off 10 balls, produced a trademark "You little beauty!" from the tieless one, who almost popped another button in his excitement as another six sailed over the ropes. If Nicholas makes it to Sri Lanka for the Twenty20 World Cup, will the warmer weather inspire him to show a bit more chest? A nation awaits.
Style choices for cycling's Tour of Britain (ITV4) presenters were more tonsorial than tailored. Matt Stephens's tousled hairdo gave him an unnerving resemblance to Ronnie Wood, while Ned Boulting's sideburns seem to be inching down in homage to Bradley Wiggins. The Tour de France winner himself, asked just before the first stage who he thought would win, said: "I don't even know who's riding, to be honest. I only got here at midnight last night, I haven't even seen the start list." The run-in to Blackpool, with its Tower modelled on the Eiffel, may have added to his perplexity, and by Friday morning he had retired, citing tummy trouble.
The other British superstar, the Manx sprinter Mark Cavendish – just how British the Isle of Man is remains a discussion for another day – didn't have the stomach for the hills of Caerphilly, which left the relatively unknown Jonathan Tiernan-Locke bidding to become the first Briton to win the Tour of Britain. We will know today; he has every chance, but I wouldn't put your shirt on it.
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