Sport on TV: My awards span surrealistic spectrum from 'Heroes' to Beckett

As an old git living in the past I've made a great discovery this year, and it's the highlight of my annual awards beano. In the Newcomer of the Year stakes, Setanta's extravagant Premier League launch is trumped by the retrospective glories of ESPN Classic, a channel devoted to old stuff, often tied to what's happening currently. Objections that it launched in 2006 and is therefore ineligible are rejected.

If I had to pick a single Desert Island moment from the year's output, I'd reluctantly sidestep Cliff Morgan's description of the great Barbarians try for another rugby commentary. It was subtitled and anonymous, from a France-England game in the Fifties, shown in the run-up to the World Cup semis: "Lacroix, this is wonderful! Albadejo! Bouquet! Saux, and Domenech! Gentlemen, that was an historic try! Crauste scores probably the most beautiful try that France have ever scored! Oh, I've no voice left! This is really very, very great rugby! Oh la la! After that we can die happy!"

Honourable newcomer mentions: the commentator Jacqui Oatley, who had the girlie cheek to get herself on Match of the Day. A special bravery award goes to civilisation for not falling, despite predictions from the caveman community. And Inside Sport (BBC1), a proper magazine programme, exactly the kind of thing the BBC should be doing.

The Skippy Award for Bounciest Newcomer goes to Will Greenwood, who's bouncier than a testing session in a bouncy castle factory. Treating the Rugby World Cup like a soft-play area divided opinion, and the antis were vicious, but for me he's a find. A very bouncy find.

The Donald Rumsfeld Award for services to the English language goes to Jamie Redknapp, whose manglings on Sky add hugely to the gaiety of the nation. He's especially strong in the "literally" department: Evra's literally left for dead, time literally stands still for Chopra. It's like an episode of Heroes.

Best WAG Appearance in a reality TV series: Danielle Lloyd, who kept us entertained and appalled as she fell under Jade Goody's, er, spell in Celebrity Big Brother (C4, January). Teddy Sheringham, thinking a couple of passes ahead as always, had dumped her by the time she was out.

Best Commentary was Motty and Lawro during the Croatia car crash last month. Almost lost for words, they were boys from Beckett, surveying the bleakness of existence as hope drained away. I imagine Alan Green, for one, was thundering away on Radio 5 Live, but without trying, Vladimir and Estragon caught the mood perfectly.

The Golden Steering Wheel for getting me watching Formula One, even the qualifying: Fernando Alonso. Only kidding (stop hitting me).

Finally, the annual John McCririck Great Fat Festering Maggot Award goes to Pete Burns' lip implants. The former human being did well to access Neil Ruddock's soft centre in Celebrity Wife Swap (C4, October), but the lips were a vision from a sleazy, druggy nightmare smeared across the screen. Horrifying. Oh, and have a Happy New Year.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Frank Turner performing at 93 Feet East
musicReview: 93 Feet East, London
News
Toronto tops the charts across a range of indexes
news

World cities ranked in terms of safety, food security and 'liveability'

Extras
indybest
Voices
A mother and her child
voices
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Recruitment Assistant

£19000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a friendly, confident i...

Tradewind Recruitment: Primary Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: At Tradewind Recruitment we are currently l...

Tradewind Recruitment: Physics Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: Tradewind Recruitment is currently working ...

Recruitment Genius: Case Manager - Occupational Therapist / Physiotherapist

£28000 - £34000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee