Sport on TV: From nauseating Naz to Hamed the humble

When Michael Parkinson took a swipe at Ian Wright's interview technique a couple of weeks ago, he probably had the very first edition of Wrighty's chat show in mind, the one in which he spent 10 minutes name- checking kit sponsors with Prince Naseem Hamed. That, along with a lot of mutual "respect", was as good as the chat got, so from where the host was sitting, Friday's Parkinson (BBC1) was the ideal opportunity to show the upstart how it should be done.

Naz, after all, is not really a Parky kinda guy. Sporting knights are more Michael's line - Bobby Charlton, or Big 'Enry Cooper, people who are guaranteed to be old and suitably deferential. Hamed, on the other hand, is a mere MBE (and we all know what Cooper thought about that). He is also lippy, with a capital everything.

Or rather, he was. There had been rumours of a rebranded Naz for the new year, and Friday night was when the covers came off. Where once he would have swaggered on and switched his mouth to auto-boast, now he actually seemed to consider the questions. He had done some homework, too, and stored his answers in files marked "mum", "Ali", "booze (avoidance of)" and "next fight" which could be used as required. In short, he was the perfect guest.

It was all rather disconcerting, not least when he made a few stabs at humility, which must be the most unexpected turn of sporting events since Foinavon's National. There was maximum respect for his parents, of course, and Ali, and yes, even for Parky himself. "It's nice to be interviewed by a Yorkshireman," he said. "I give you all the credit in the world." At which point Parkinson's expression tried to be embarrassed rather than smug, and failed dismally.

What Parkinson gave Naz in return was as easy a ride as possible, even when Hamed said, apropos of Ali's present condition, that "he was so extraordinary as a man that I think God just wanted to show everyone he was human". Ah, so it's God's fault is it? Nothing to do with Frazier, Foreman or the profiteers who allowed him to keep on soaking up the punishment for the sake of their bank balance. Boxing, it seems, is in the clear. What a relief.

Now it is true that Parkinson is a chat show, not Question Time, but they do not call it "light" entertainment for nothing. As well as paying homage to his heroes, Naz also got to flash his jewellery, and talk about fast cars. In fact, the most startling revelation at any point in the show was probably that Gary Barlow still can't dance. From Hamed's point of view, the transition from snarling stage villain to mild media darling could hardly have gone more smoothly. You can only hope for his sake that some of the old bite returns when he next bounces over the ropes.

Far more educational was the football on Sky Sports 2 at roughly the same time. Faced with the task of spicing up Mansfield versus Rotherham, someone at Sky had remembered an experiment at the darts a couple of years ago, when they attached heart-rate monitors to some of the players during matches. It was less than successful because - I kid you not - the players' sweat tended to interfere with the contacts. You have to pity the poor technician who was charged with removing them afterwards - an electric shock from Cliff Lazarenko's left nipple would be a somewhat undignified way to go.

But it worked rather better on Friday, when the managers were supplied with monitors and their readings flashed on to the screen at crucial moments of the match. The doctor who hooked them up explained that 80 beats per minute was a normal, resting pulse, and anything over 120 might give some cause for concern, particularly if sustained for a prolonged period.

This must have been rather worrying for Steve Parkin's nearest and dearest, as the Mansfield manager's pulse rarely seemed to drop below 135. The stress level was particularly high when his side twice had goals ruled off-side, and if Parkin had keeled over in his dugout, there would have been enough evidence from the monitors to charge the linesman with manslaughter.

His opposite number, though, was an oasis of yogic calm by comparison. While the match ebbed and flowed, and Rotherham were denied an obvious penalty and then hit the bar before scoring three goals, Ronnie Moore's pulse rate barely wavered from a very healthy 85. Balding and middle-aged he may be, but the Rotherham gaffer is seriously cool.

The whole thing was a gimmick, of course, but a good one, although the producers should think carefully before using it again. Consider what might happen if they attached a monitor to Gordon Strachan during even a training session. The cost of the paper and ink could swallow up their programme budget for the next three seasons.

News
Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
businessUber, Snapchat and Facebook founders among those on the 2015 Forbes Billionaire List
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
News
Homer’s equation, in an episode in 1998, comes close to the truth, as revealed 14 years later
science
News
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - Covent Garden, central London - £45k - £55k

£45000 - £55000 per annum + 30 days holiday: Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - ...

Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator - Lancashire - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: 3rd Line Support Engineer / Network ...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Web Developer

£26000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Web Developer is required to ...

Ashdown Group: PeopleSoft Developer - London - £45k

£45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: PeopleSoft Application Support & Development ...

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003