Sport on TV: Farewell Grandstand... now when did I last watch it in full?
Saturday 03 February 2007
It was clever of the BBC to end Grandstand the week before the Six Nations. Talk about burying bad news: nobody will notice until the middle of March, and then it's spring and summer, when no one watches anyway unless there's something big on.
They marked its passing with a few "funnies" at the end of last Sunday's swansong, which ended with the Des Lynam moment when he kept going as a fight between sub-editors raged behind him. The fact that it was an April Fool didn't lessen the poignancy: "We'll continue to do our best to cover sport as you would like, backed up by our highly professional team..."
Cut to Clare Balding: "As one era ends, another begins. There's plenty still to look forward to on BBC Sport."
Indeed, should we be mourning at all? I bet the last time I sat through an entire transmission, through the eventing and the bowls and the scrambling as well as the rugby and the racing and the results, it was probably in black and white. I cling, like most middle-aged men, to the things of my youth, so I'm sorry to see it go. But it's not such a big loss in the cold light of a weekend afternoon.
One sport it didn't cover was women's sumo, and you can forget your fat-bird jokes. Strictly Lady Sumo (C4, Tuesday) followed the British team, convened from scratch three months before last year's World Championships by "Sumo" Steve Pateman.
It was possible to talent-spot early on, when Adele Jones, a 37-year-old youth education worker and prop forward for Lichfield (at only 15st), was frightening in training, while showing she understands the quintessence of sport when she declared, "It's all in the head." Spotting her potential, Steve was extra hard on her, reducing her to tears. "I can be dying but I will not give up," she said before all but piledriving him through the wall. In Osaka she won silver in an epic fight with a Dutchwoman as big as a windmill. "My life depended on it," she said. And although she lost the final to a Russian defending her title, she was fantastic.
There's a link sitting up and begging to Wags Boutique (ITV2), which was on at the same time. And you'd pay good money to see that lip-glossed, fake-tanned shower in the ring with Adele and Co. In a series that puts two teams of football-related appendages into warring frock shops, the star, a supernova of ignorance and hissy fits, is Cassie Sumner, a topless model who purports to be Michael Essien's better (ha!) half, although the lad himself denied it this week.
"I wouldn't have known there were 11 players in a team," was one of her best lines, along with, "I am used to having people run around after me", for which she should be horse-whipped.
Anyway, it's a load of toss and I'm sorry for bothering you with it. Don't watch it unless you've recently had your brains scooped out with a ladle. D'you hear?
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