Sport On TV: Staying ahead of the game at Madame Tussaud's

THERE IS only one true barometer of fame: Madame Tussaud's. If you're one of the 400 dummies on show, you're in the loop. Beyond lies the abyss to which has-beens are consigned. Or at least the head room. In Modern Times: Waxworks of the Rich and Famous (BBC2, Wednesday), assorted celebs ruminated on being in with the wax crowd - and what it feels like when your time is up.

The programme was particularly cruel to Geoffrey Boycott, who was removed following his recent run-in with the French legal system.

"Do you know what happens when you're deselected?" the interviewer asks him. "Deselected?" he replies. "Is that a political term or diplomatic term? What you mean is they melt them down and use them again."

"They don't actually do that," she tells him, slightly hesitantly. "They behead them." "Ah, that's not very nice," he says, looking hurt.

The camera pans across the shelves of severed heads: Nureyev next to Kruschev, Frost snuggled up to Hope, Davis Jnr whispering sweet nothings to Cilla Black, Tom Baker and Meglos the Cactus locked into a fierce staring contest, Goering and Laurence Olivier wondering what they've done to deserve each other, Gagarin, Ann of Bohemia ... and Boycott. As the camera moves up his face he looks deeply offended by his fate. "Oh, thank you very much," he says when told his head is still on the shelf. "Like Henry VIII, is it? Locked up all his wives' heads and put them in a corner, or a cupboard. Thank you very much." It's not clear whether he's being serious or sarcastic.

There is a star chamber that meets in secret to decide who's in and who's out. For every newcomer, someone must die. Fame's like that. After vigorous lobbying from the women on the staff, Michael Owen gets the nod, though we don't find out who he replaced. And the other big news is that Paul Gascoigne, still trapped inside his, er, svelte 1990 guise, needs a major refit. Terry Venables is still there, down in what they call the Garden Party. "Oh no," he says when told he's next to Gazza. "Can't I even have a bit of peace and quiet in there?"

Venables evinces weird views when reflecting on the ceruminous afterlife. Beyond the shelves of heads there is somewhere even worse, beyond public view. The cupboard. "That's how life normally is at the end, isn't it?" he chuckles. "You go in a big cupboard." You'll never be England manager again with ideas like that, Terry.

Speaking of dummies, the less fortunate among you may, for reasons probably best kept to yourself, have been up at 6.30 on Saturday mornings watching BBC's digital venture News 24, whose domestic terrestrial viewing figures have apparently numbered, ooh, in the dozens. For some misguided reason they wheel on a hack to discourse on the weekend sport, and one of their regulars is Chris Maume, usually described as "Sports Editor of the Independent", which is a laugh (I'm told he corrected the error the first time he was on but has strangely failed to on subsequent appearances). When I taped his performance last Saturday he was on his usual gabbling form.

Generally, when the camera alights on his ashen, waxy, lifeless face he obviously sees himself on the monitor and realises with a horrid shock that he has all the vim and vigour of a body recently dragged from the Thames and hurriedly dried out. The insane grin he quickly adopts doesn't come close to compensating for the sense of impending rigor mortis. Then, once he opens his mouth, sense gives in without a fight and is borne out of the studio on his prodigious wafts of hot air.

Fortunately for him, he usually has the patient and amiable David Robertson leading him by the hand through the headlines. A curious and irritating feature of Maume's style is his habit of talking over the questions - "Yes. Yes. Yes. Right. Yes. No, that's right. Yes. Yes. Absolutely" as if Robertson needs the coaxing rather than himself. Shut it! I wanted to scream at the screen (in fact, did scream at the screen).

Robertson kicked off with the Charlton floodlights affair, Maume's contribution amounting mainly to the fact that match-fixing is "systematic and endemic" in the Far East (thanks for that) and that one of the most threatening aspects is how "we're being infiltrated in such a directly invasive manner." How utterly fascinating.

Desperate to claw back credibility, he attempted to convey an air of authority over the England succession issue. "My information is that [Keegan] can be wooed," he said at one point - "my information" consisting mainly of what his newspaper had printed that morning. Well, at least he can read.

Maume must also learn to keep his hands to himself. Clearly believing that if you wave them round enough, people won't listen to what you're saying, he came on all Magnus Pike - to the apparent accompaniment of gunfire as he slapped his microphone at one stage.

As they say down Television Centre, don't give up the day job.

Arts and Entertainment
arts + entsWith one of the best comic roles around, it's no wonder she rarely bothers with films
News
people
News
Davis says: 'My career has been about filling a niche - there were fewer short actors and fewer roles – but now I'm being offered all kinds of things'
PeopleWarwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
Voices
A Russian hunter at the Medved bear-hunting lodge in Siberia
Save the tigerWildlife charities turn to those who kill animals to help save them
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Sport
Frank Lampard will pass Billy Wright and equal Bobby Charton’s caps tally of 106 caps against
sportFormer Chelsea midfielder in Etihad stopgap before New York contract
Arts and Entertainment
The first film introduced Daniel Radcliffe to our screens, pictured here as he prepares to board the train to Hogwarts for the first time.
booksHow reading Harry Potter helps children grow up to be gay-friendly
Sport
Usain Bolt of Jamaica smiles and shakes hands with a competitor after Jamaica won their first heat in the men's 4x100m relay
sport
News
Chancellor George Osborne, along with the Prime Minister, have been 'complacently claiming the economy is now fixed', according to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
i100... which is awkward, because he is their boss, after all
Life and Style
A small bag of the drug Ecstasy
Health
Life and Style
Floral-print swim shorts, £26, by Topman, topman.com; sunglasses, £215, by Paul Smith, mpaulsmith.co.uk
FashionBag yourself the perfect pair
News
news
News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

(Senior) IT Support Engineer - 1st-3rd Line Support

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful IT service provider that has bee...

Wind Farm Civil Design Engineer

£55000 - £65000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Principal Marine Mechanical Engineer

£60000 - £70000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Principle Geotechnical Engineer

£55000 - £65000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Day In a Page

Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

How has your club fared in summer sales?

Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
Warwick Davis: The British actor on Ricky Gervais, how the Harry Potter set became his office, and why he'd like to play a spy

'I'm a realist; I know how hard this business is'

Warwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

The best swim shorts for men

Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Meet the couple blamed for bringing Lucifer into local politics
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup