Sport on TV: Life in the fast and furious lane of swinging Sixties

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The Independent Online

A certain young Englishman may have got us all watching Formula One again, but it's hard not to conclude that the golden era was the Sixties, when Graham Hill bestrode the world like a cross between Ayrton Senna and, er, Leslie Phillips.

As Graham Hill: Driven (BBC 4, Monday) amply demonstrated, he was clearly something of a split personality. He could be terrifying to work with, especially when the intervals between wins got longer.

"He would get very angry indeed, and the atmosphere in the team could be absolutely foul," the historian Doug Nye recalled. But, as one mechanic remembered, he'd also always be the one to fetch up at the transporter with a crate of beer.

And boy, could he party. His daughter recalled one do at home in which the police were called. They disappeared with a couple of dolly birds, then called round the next day to collect the helmets and truncheons they'd forgotten.

His family didn't, however, address another side of his personality. "Graham embraced the Sixties with a passion," his friend, the sculptor David Wynne, said. "He had a keen eye for the ladies. He took much more liberties than I did – girls flocked round him. He was the man."

I feel we should leave the last word to Hill, laid up in an American hospital after almost losing both knees in a shunt at Watkins Glen, in a live link-up to some televised shindig back home.

"I don't know what's going to happen to you after this," he told them, "but I'm going to have a couple of little darlings come in and rub my bottom. If you can beat that, good luck."

This wouldn't have gone down well in Iran, from where Storyville reported on Wednesday (BBC 4). Red Card: Death of a WAG wasn't Anne Robinson savaging various footballers' squeezes in Monday's The Weakest Link (which makes shooting apples in a barrel seem like hard work). It was about the case of Khadijeh Jahed, known as Shahla, who in 2002 was accused of stabbing to death the wife of her lover Nasser Mohammad Khani, the former Iranian international striker, who, along with the rest of his family, demanded her execution, as they can do under Iranian law. She had made a hysterical confession on video during a reconstruction, and she was sentenced to death despite a bravura performance in court, by turns furious and coquettish as she retracted her confession (which other evidence subsequently proved false).

Mohammad went to jail because she'd been buying him opium to feed his addiction. On what looked like the Iranian version of Newsnight an expert thundered: "Families and young people should know that not every celebrity is a role model." Fancy that...

As of February, all appeals having failed, Shahla remained on death row. Still, rather that than face Anne Robinson.

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