Sport on TV: Johno says, 'I'm not the next England coach, get me out of here'

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The Independent Online

I suffered huge disappointment this week, thanks to believing what I read in the papers (idiot). It concerned the new series of I'm A Celebrity - Honest! or whatever it's called. The story was that Stan Bowles was meant to be flown in off the bench to join the junglebound Z-listers. Now this would have been a move of inspired genius, the finest piece of visionary thinking since Archimedes was messing about in his bath.

Instead, some spotty herbert who used to be in East- Enders arrived and went straight into a vat of yellow maggot slime (he threw up four times, I'm told, which serves him right). I can only think that, lacking assurances that the rainforest would come equipped with a pub and bookies, dear old Stan thought better of it.

A much more likely candidate, you'd think, would be Martin Johnson. Put the World Cup-winning rugby captain in a tank with baby crocs, as apparently happened to Liza Minnelli's ex this week, and the poor dears would smile nervously and cower in the corners.

Instead, the great man was on Rugby Club (Sky Sports 1, Thursday) having his reluctant say on the England mess; questioned by Simon Lazenby he looked as if his opinions were being dragged out of him. Apart from the headline quotes about Andy Robinson and the old farts, he was astute about England's decline, though, talking about how a whole tier of senior players disappeared after the World Cup - "and suddenly you go from a team that's full of belief in each other and what they can do, to looking round - I've been in situations like that - thinking, 'How are we going to win this game?'"

Lazenby tried to get him to admit to an interest in Robinson's job, only to be politely rebuffed. "I don't give out messages," Johnson said. "I don't even like publicly speaking about it. I know what they're going through."

Lazenby persisted. "One day, Martin," he said as they shook hands at the end. "Never say never."

"You said that, not me," Johnson said, turning away without a trace of a smile.

There were smiles, mostly rueful, from the BBC team after the dire Netherlands v England game (BBC1, Wednesday). On Hancock's Half Time (ITV1, Thursday), host Nick confessed that he'd been so bored he'd turned over at one point and watched a bit of the excellent Coast. I'm with him on that one. England were OK but the Dutch were clearly out of their minds on super-skunk.

"I've never seen a Dutch team that can't pass it like these," Mark Lawrenson muttered, and there was a great shot of Ruud Gullit laughing like a drain at a particularly inelegant hoik into the stands from Joris Mathijsen. Alan Hansen was, as usual, succinct. "Until the last five minutes it was terrible."

Not terrible, but not as brilliant as expected, was that sultry hunk of gorgeousness Mark Ramprakash - still the favourite to win Strictly Come Dancing (BBC1) but beaten last Saturday, not only by second-favourite Baby Spice, but also by the strictly limited Matt Dawson.

Johnson's former Lions and England team-mate had had a drama coach "getting inside my soul" the previous week, and the difference was astonishing. "From boring to brilliant in six weeks!" judge Arlene Phillips enthused. If only the current England team could go the same way.

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