The Scarlets, Great British Sport Relief Bake-Off, TV review: Sport does matter – just ask Llanelli and Victoria Pendleton

View From The Sofa: BBC 1 Wales; BBC 2

Sport doesn’t actually mean much – despite what people like Sepp Blatter at Fifa says, a few blokes in shorts running round kicking a ball is unlikely to cure the world’s ills. It’s not a slight against sport; it is just an observation on its place in the world. Just as sport isn’t the answer to world peace, you wouldn’t head down to the pub and watch the European Parliament deliberating over fishing quotas, would you?

That is not to say that sport isn’t important to people, as we saw on The Scarlets, BBC Wales’ new fly-on-the-wall series centred on a year in the life of Llanelli’s rugby team. One of the first of the many fans to feature said: “This place would be nothing without the Scarlets.”

The Beeb’s cameras had clearly been given a lot of access in a tumultuous year for the club and, of course, all of Wales. They even got a sneaky look at how the groundsman embellishes the pitch with grass clippings so as to make it look less threadbare to the paying punters and TV cameras.

The wrestling of tradition and a proud history (Llanelli famously beat the touring All Blacks back in 1972) with the modern struggles of getting bums on seats and the correlation of hospitality vacancies to results on the pitch were laid bare by the affable chief executive, Mark Davies. He was refreshingly honest about the things which keep him awake at night, as well as being realistic about how much he can change about the club without incurring the fans’ wrath.

If Assem Allam, the Hull City owner, reads The Independent (doubtful, given that it was the Indy’s Sunday sister that broke the news of him telling fans they “can die as soon as they want”) then he should watch every episode of The Scarlets to get a better idea of how to run a sports club – and a team’s place in the community.

The first episode was partly a scene-setter and the series will no doubt get far more dramatic as it wears on, once the ugly battle between the Welsh Rugby Union and the regions – which is still ongoing – rears its head. If nothing else, the first episode showed that to many, sport does matter.

On that subject, it is Sport Relief time. And as part of the fund-raising drive, a celebrity version of The Great British Bake-Off was broadcast last week.

Michael Vaughan, the former England cricket captain, prolonged the stereotype that laddish males shouldn’t be anywhere near a mixer unless there is concrete in it, while the retired cyclist Victoria Pendleton’s requests that the other contests “chill out, it’s just cooking” were revealed to be a smokescreen by her dagger eyes every time she failed to win a task.

But it was all for charity, so it would be churlish to be snarky about their japes. Jamelia, the singer, looked to have the right idea when she necked a cupful of almond liqueur that was meant for her cake, then spent most of the time giggling. Some may say she wasn’t treating the competition seriously enough. But then again, it is only sport.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: IT Sales Consultant

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...

Recruitment Genius: Works Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Hire Manager - Tool Hire

£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is seeking someone w...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference