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.

Voices
voices
News
general electionThis quiz matches undecided voters with the best party for them
Life and Style
Men with beards rejoice: Your beard probably doesn't harbour faeces-like bacteria
health
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen starred in the big screen adaptation of Austen's novel in 2005
tvStar says studios are forcing actors to get buff for period roles
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Ashdown Group: Part-time Payroll Officer - Yorkshire - Professional Services

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful professional services firm is lo...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before