Geordievision - in glorious black and white

Sport on TV

It Is well-known that weather conditions can affect television signals, but the phenomenon we have witnessed this week is quite unprecedented. A particularly thick bank of fog on the Tyne caused sets all over the country to transmit non-stop Geordievision on all channels.

Click! There's a Gazza blubbathon on Channel 4. Click! There's Chris Waddle, getting it all wrong on BBC1. Click! Top Gear Motor Sport on BBC2. Safe at last . . . but what's this? A Newcastle United sports car? There was no escape.

The first fruit of the fog, Gazza's Coming Home (Channel 4), part of the Cutting Edge series, provided some interesting insights into the most examined and least understood psyche in British sport. We followed him from the Villa Gazza in Rome to his new house in Scotland. On the way he gained a new wife, a new son, and 15 yellow cards. For all the clowning, he came across as a desperately lonely figure, terrified by the void that his life would be without football and, initially at least, terrified by the only thing that can fill it.

Told by his wife-to-be, Sheryl, that she was expecting his child, Gazza did not take the news well. "I shit me pants," he said. "I took it in a bad way." Sheryl was not best pleased; nor was she chuffed when he missed the birth because he was on a drinking trip with his club-mates. But by the end of the documentary Gazza was reconciled to his new way of life, contentedly applying cold cream to his son's parts after a nappy change. "I feel like Vinnie Jones," he mused, football never being far from his thoughts.

The nappy-changing took place chez Sheryl in Hertfordshire, and we never did see Gazza en famille in Scotland. So the abiding image of the programme is that of the footballer touring his echoing new house with his chum Five Bellies in tow, a kind of human subsidence meter. Gazza stopped in the dining-room, and pointed to one of the chairs pulled up to the table. "This is for me," he said. Then he pointed, one by one, at all the other chairs. "In fact, this is for me, me, me . . ."

The programme's most controversial moment, the one that generated all the useful pre- transmission publicity, was a blatant case of what is known in legal circles as leading the witness. "Do British clubs encourage you to have a drink to improve team spirit?" the interviewer asked. "Yes," Gascoigne replied, and you could sense the producer nodding gratefully as the player duly provided chapter and verse. Not much of a revelation, really, but good for a couple of million on the viewing figures. The rest of it was pretty low-key stuff, padding out (if that's not too cruel) the footballer's character. Intriguing, but it lacked a cutting edge, to be blunt.

Chris Waddle never did get the hang of They Think It's All Over (BBC1): not only did he persistently answer Nick Hancock's questions, he kept getting them right. This scored a lot of points for his team but none for Waddle as a future guest on the show: he had clearly failed to read the clause in his contract requiring non-stop scatology. Never mind, the regulars, and Jo Brand, the other guest, knew the form, providing a wearisome list of synonyms for genitalia, a kind of gynaecological Call My Bluff. The show is turning into a party for superannuated teenagers: "Aren't we naughty?"

Waddle - intentionally or otherwise - also provided a rare moment of genuine humour in the word-game round. He was supposed to be matching teams to Lee Hurst's prompts, but rather lost the plot. "Clean your bath with it. You can play football against them in Holland . . ." Waddle had it. "Flash," he said. True to form, Hurst's clue for "Brest" was "Jo's got two of them, you can play football against them in France". Once again, Waddle was there. "Bordeaux," he declared. For once, Jo Brand was lost for words.

Lastly, to the appearance on Top Gear Motor Sport (BBC2) of the latest colony of Sir John Hall's sporting empire, the Newcastle United Sports Car Team. Tiff Needell, the show's regular presenter, has been signed as a driver for the team, making him motor sport's equivalent of Alan Shearer. He was to make his debut for the team in an international race at Brands Hatch. Would the presence of the cameras put him off?

Well, something must have done. Tiff's co-driver started the race, and had the big black-and-white car in third place when he came in to the pits to hand over. Tiff leapt aboard, ready to shoot back into the action, but there was a snag: he couldn't find his seat-belt. Finally, he clunk- clicked, but in the process, forgot to keep his foot on the loud pedal, and stalled the engine. He eventually got going, but was so excited by the end of his stint that when he came back into the pits to hand over once more he completely overshot and had to be wheeled back into place by his muttering mechanics. On second thoughts, the Shearer analogy is not quite right: Tiff Needell is Warren Barton on wheels.

News
peopleJonathan Ross has got a left-field suggestion to replace Clarkson
Sport
Lewis Hamilton secured his second straight pole of the season
f1Vettel beats Rosberg into third after thunderstorm delays qualifying
Arts and Entertainment
The teaser trailer has provoked more questions than answers
filmBut what is Bond's 'secret' that Moneypenny is talking about?
News
Johnny Depp is perhaps best known for his role as Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean
peopleBut how did he break it?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
football This was Kane’s night, even if he played just a small part of it
Travel
travel Dreamland Margate, Britain’s oldest amusement park, is set to reopen
News
news
News
Founders James Brown and Tim Southwell with a mock-up of the first ever ‘Loaded’ magazine in 1994
media
News
Threlfall says: 'I am a guardian of the reality keys. I think I drive directors nuts'
people
Voices
voices The group has just unveiled a billion dollar plan to help nurse the British countryside back to health
News
The Westgate, a gay pub in the centre of Gloucester which played host to drag queens, has closed
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Does earning a 6 figu...

Recruitment Genius: SEO Executive

£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: New Lift Sales Executive - Lift and Elevators

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A challenging opportunity for a...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss