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.

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: Software / Web Developer - ASP.NET

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company produces a wide ra...

Recruitment Genius: Office / Sales Manager

£22000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established and expanding South...

Recruitment Genius: Administrative Assistant / Order Fulfilment

£14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join a thrivi...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
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
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
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
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones