Matt Butler: Eddie and Suzi, the newest odd couple of the F1 soap
View From The Sofa: Chinese GP/FA Cup BBC 1/ITV
The world was watching. There had been weeks of build-up and talk. Two volatile personalities, thrown together as part of a team in a ruthless, money-driven industry, were about to be shown together on live television. Just how would they interact?
As it happens, Suzi Perry and Eddie Jordan got along just fine. Perry, the new face of BBC's Formula One coverage, was enjoying her first live build-up in Jake Humphrey's place, along with Jordan and David Coulthard. And in the beginning, little seemed different. Sure, the jeans were a little tighter-fitting, but whatever Coulthard feels comfortable in is fine, we must presume.
Perry had had a couple of dress rehearsals in fronting the Beeb's highlights package in the previous two races of the season, but the hour-long live build-up is something else entirely. And it was credit to Humphrey that he made filling an hour of airtime with informative chat look so darn easy every time.
Perry's delivery wasn't quite as smooth – she took a couple of goes to get "pit lane" out at one stage – but she has clearly been welcomed into the fold by Coulthard and Jordan.
She seemed a little nervous in the beginning – a few words fell over each other as she tried to divulge all she could in the least time possible about the Red Bull feud between Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber – but apart from the initial stutters, the threesome worked well. Even when they walked down the pit lane, while it sounded like Iron Man was being taken apart in the background, the talk was seamless.
There was one moment – we always sensed there would be one – where Jordan tried a Carry On-style crack at casual sexism. As the trio huddled close to get Ross Brawn, the Mercedes team principal, into shot, Perry said: "Oh, I was wondering what you were doing, there, I thought you were going to give me a cuddle."
Cue Jordan's highly raised eyebrows and even higher raised voice. "We always can. Ross would fancy a bit of that, wouldn't he?" Perry and Brawn thankfully ignored him.
On the subject of frosty rebuffs, Adrian Chiles and Roy Keane, the dysfunctional, stuck-in-a-rut couple of ITV football, found some rare common ground during yesterday's FA Cup semi-final between Manchester City and Chelsea. In the half-time break Chiles opened the discussion by telling the assembled pundits that they had just witnessed a "breathless half of very English football". Keane, whose default facial expression is "disgruntled man told to make his own bloody tea" turned to Chiles with a filthy look before checking himself; it was as if he had fully intended to berate his host before listening to what he had actually said.
Then he nodded. Begrudgingly, but still. It was what marriage guidance counsellors would call "progress".
Chiles, clearly buoyed by getting scary Roy to agree with him, continued, peppering his words with phrases like "blood and thunder". "They are getting stuck in, getting on with it. It has shades of Chelsea v Leeds, 1970," Chiles enthused. Or, if he were braver, Manchester United v Arsenal, any time Keane was playing.
Keane nodded again. But, as it often is with couples that don't get along, he had to have the last word. And it was about Chelsea's defending. "You have to smell the danger," he said. Words Perry and Chiles would do well to heed.
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