Matt Butler: Please, please, please, can the World Cup start now?
View From the Sofa: World Cup Epic Fails, ITV1
Please, please, please, can the World Cup start now? Not because we don't want to sit through any more tepid friendlies like Friday's effort, but because we have had more than enough of clip shows “celebrating” the tournament.
The BBC have had a good run of it, with compendiums of greatest goals, best moments and (probably) the most pithy commentator comments, but on Saturday night it was the turn of ITV, the other rights-holder, to plumb the depths.
And with World Cup Epic Fails, they plummeted to a televisual Mariana Trench. Aside from the name (more on that later), the whole programme was like a time warp back 30 years.
Angus Deayton was the host – yes, this clip show needed someone in a studio to hold it together – and it quickly became clear why he is still not missed on Have I Got News For You.
His opening monologue was peppered with the kind of casual racism and sexism that we hadn't seen in years – and no, it wasn't done in an ironic manner. “In Brazil the party has already started,” he wryly mused. Cut to scenes of riots. Hilarious. Then as a picture of a toothless man flashed on the screen: “This is the richest man in Brazil, he made his money from the tooth fairy.” The canned laughter went wild.
It possibly would have been excusable if this was a meta-clip show – a clip show of clip shows, including an extended scene from the one produced in the build-up to, say, the 1986 World Cup.
And apart from the stale jokes, it looked as if that is what ITV had done. The studio looked like the one from It Will Be All Right on the night had had a lick of paint and a few neon lights added and Deayton hadn't aged a day since his spectacular fall from grace fuelled by the tabloids (although the drugs and prostitutes probably had something to do with it as well).
But then he cracked gags about the Somerset floods and Jay-Z being hit in a lift and then came the sad realisation that this show was made this year.
There were a few gems in the hour of dross. Like Bobby Robson (in a very non-World Cuppy setting seated in front of Benfica livery) bumbling his way through a press conference with a combination of Spanish, Portuguese and hand gestures. That and a repeated showing of Sepp Blatter falling over.
But the rest was depressingly predictable. And, it bears repeating, the clips were interspersed with jokes that break the Trade Descriptions Act.
Then there was the name. The phrase “epic fail” was coined for YouTube videos of mountain bikers careering into sides of houses mid-jump, not clips of Ron Atkinson clad in a pair of budgie smugglers asking in Spanish for four tequila sunrises.
What was a failure (epic or otherwise) was that this show needed three writers and they still managed to let through with sizzlers like “after that dive, he was booked – for a part in EastEnders”. With that, Brazil v Croatia in the World Cup opener on Thursday week can't come soon enough.
Latest in Sport
England vs Japan: Watch the moment Laura Bassett's own goal saw England knocked out of the 2015 Women's World Cup
Bastian Schweinsteiger to Manchester United: Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola hints midfielder will be leaving the club this summer
Morgan Schneiderlin to Manchester United: Transfer news live - Robin van Persie to leave, Saints and Tottenham battle for Toby Alderweireld
Wojciech Szczesny was 'lied to' by Arsene Wenger over future after £11m transfer of Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’
- 1 David Cameron refers to 83-year-old Labour MP Dennis Skinner as 'Jurassic Park'
- 3 'Help me I'm trapped in a factory' messages keep being found on bottles of vitamin water
- 4 German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
- 5 Alwaleed bin Talal: Saudi Prince to donate entire $32bn fortune to charity
The moment a Queen's Guard soldier lost it and drew his gun at annoying tourist
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
£15000 - £16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you've got first class custo...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity to join a medium s...
£11830 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working in a friendly, sales ta...
£15000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...