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.

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
i100

Other places that have held independence referendums
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
news

Arts and Entertainment
Blossoming love: Colin Firth as Stanley and Emma Stone as Sophie, in 'Magic in the Moonlight'
film

Actors star in Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'

News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
News
peopleThe Times of India said actress should treat it as a 'compliment'
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur
film

It scooped up an unprecedented 11 Academy Awards when it was first remade in 1959

News
news

Watch this commuter wage a one-man war against the Circle Line
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
lifeShould we feel guilty about keeping cats inside?
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes the hobby look 'dysfunctional', they say
Arts and Entertainment
Maxine Peake plays Hamlet at Manchester's Royal Exchange
theatreReview: Maxine Peake brings emotional ferocity to Shakespeare's starring part
Extras
10 best table lamps
indybest
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

IT Project Manager (technical, applications, infrastructure)

£55000 - £60000 Per Annum + benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: IT Proj...

English Teacher (Bristol and South Gloucestershire)

Negotiable: Randstad Education Bristol: English teachers for day to day cover,...

Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Sheffield: Year 6 Teacher RequiredThis teaching...

SharePoint Administrator - Bishop's Stortford / Stansted

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: SharePoint Administrator - Bishop's ...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week