Sport on TV: The Twee Musketeer exposes the icy sliver in his heart

I really can't have a go at poor old Peter Alliss again. How many years is it now? I think my biannual kickings, during the Open and the Masters, have been going on since Bobby Jones was winning the Junior Plate. It feels like mugging the Queen.

I always mentally associate the old duffer with his near namesake Peter Sallis, the voice of Wallace (as in Gromit). With a delivery as comfy as a feather cushion and turns of phrase seemingly scriptwritten by Enid Blyton, Alliss has no rival as the Twee Musketeer.

During Thursday's first round of the Open on BBC2, however, he flashed a hitherto rarely glimpsed pair of claws with one tiny remark that you could easily have missed. It was during the last couple of holes of the Woods and Faldo show.

"It's been a fascinating duel, when you think that Faldo's almost 20 years older than Woods," Alliss said, though describing it as a "duel" suggests a meeting of equals as opposed to a kick-boxer assaulting an OAP. "I'm not too sure he should have been paired with Woods. I don't know whether it was cunning or clever or cruel, but I think he should have played with someone else. He has not been competitive for a number of years, and to put him in the heat of battle with this fellow didn't do him any favours. But serve him right."

Serve him right? Where did that come from? Have they got previous? I guess it tells us most of what we need to know about Faldo's standing among his fellow pros, which brings to mind David Frost's famous question to Peter Cook about why people tended to take an instant dislike to him. "It saves time later on," Cook replied.

Julian Tutt (sounding disconcertingly like Monty Don of Gardeners' World) weighed in. "He's been complaining this week that it wasn't what he needed," he said of Faldo.

"Has he? Oh..." said Alliss in the tones of someone raising their eyes to heaven. "Well, I agree with him, really. But he's won six major championships, and he's here and he's playing. He can't just go out with two promising young assistants, one from Rochdale and the other one from Budleigh Salterton."

You could almost hear the perennially dry Mark James raising an eyebrow. "Well, if it has put Nick off I think it'll be the first time in his career that playing with the wrong sort of person's put him off." The way he said it, you got the impression he feels it's mostly been the other way round.

"Putain de fainéant de nègre". Any idea what that means? Ron Atkinson should be able to tell you by the end of the new series he's involved in, Excuse My French (BBC2, Tuesday). He's one of les pigs de guinea, along with Esther Rantzen and the comedian Marcus Brigstocke, who've agreed to do an immersion course for a month in a Provence villa before doing their day job in French. Big Ron'll be working with the Gallic equivalent of the CRE, I imagine.

He's unlikely to get a job as an interpreter. He's giving it a go but he looks lost and useless. "I'm staying deliberately silent so I don't say anything that'll sound stupid later," he said. And at the end, in the trailer for next week, his teacher was shown storming out of their lesson. "I want to run away," she said. "I want to get in a car, and run away."

The most excitable commentary of the week came in the Tour de France, at the end of Floyd Landis's astonishing Alpine victory on Thursday (ITV4). This was a man, a man with one good hip, who'd spent most of the stage out on his own, and Phil Liggett was beside himself in the commentary box as the American crossed the line: "And he gets off the bike like he's just delivered the papers!" God knows what Landis will do when he's got two hips.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence