Sport on TV: Why Will's world was not so ideal for Holmes

LIFE cannot be easy when you are Eamonn Holmes. He has made his name - such as it is - on the tackiest breakfast telly station going, where he does his best to dominate not just the guests, but also his co- presenters. And yet, when the calls come through for someone to graduate to better (or more remunerative) assignments, it always seems to be Holmes's sofa companions who move on.

He can be forgiven for feeling a little frustrated, but even so, he must have been pretty desperate for a fresh, high-profile slot in the evening schedules to have anything to do with The Sports Show (ITV).

The same goes for Will Carling, Holmes's loyal lieutenant in a mish-mash of a format which never quite worked out what it wanted to be (a failing which is probably crime number one in the management manuals which Carling plugged at every available opportunity). It was not a straight chat show, because the audience got involved, but then again, neither was it a serious debate, because the audience, at least as far as Eamonn and Will were concerned, stretched to no more than five people.

Holmes did not even go through the accepted charade of inviting anyone with an opinion to stick up their hand. The running order was pre- ordained, and the camera was always on the next contributor from the crowd before he (and yes, it was almost exclusively a he) had even opened his mouth.

Nor was this much of a random cross-section of the sporting public. Three hours earlier, a bespectacled fanzine editor had shared his thoughts on Ruud Gullit's sacking with Sky News. Now here he was again, spouting away from the midst of the crowd as if he had just been hauled in off the street. The heavy-handed stage- management made it all the more entertaining when one man - a Chelsea fan with a Brian Sewell accent - refused to shut up when required. The lippy nutter is a constant bane of audience participation shows, but this, unusually, must have been a lippy nutter of their own choosing.

This is not to say that The Sports Show did not have its moments, like the unusual lighting arrangement which made Graham Poll's hair look purple, and Kevin Connelly, an impressionist whose voices were brilliant even if his material was not. Best of all, though, was the occasional glimpse into the low-budget broadcasting niche that is ... Will's World, Will's World! (EX-CELLENT!).

In Will's World, apparently, the England cricket team would have refrained from celebrating their Test victory in Trinidad, lest it give the Windies the notion that one success was all they were after. "They should," Will told us, "be cuter in handling the media." And this from the man who once trotted up to a smart west London gym without noticing the long lenses pointing at him from every available piece of vegetation.

What would have been rather cuter on ITV's part would have been to include a few more women - the line-up for this week, incidentally, is three more blokes, including one of the absolute Uber-Blokes, Neil Morrissey. It was not just ITV, though, which devoted an hour or two to boys playing amongst themselves. Auntie was at it too with The Mission (BBC1), a two- part documentary which followed the assortment of madcaps, mechanics and weirdoes in the Nevada desert with the ultimate performance car, attempting to break both the land speed record and the sound barrier. (And yes, before anyone points it out, they did let a few girls join their gang, but one was the driver's special friend.)

Some may argue that a programme about dragster racing gone mad expands the definition of "Sport on TV" to breaking point, but the producer of last year's BBC Sports Review felt it acceptable to drag Richard Noble and his car into the studio, so perhaps it just squeezes in under the wire. That said, The Mission could just as easily have popped up at four in the morning on BBC 2, as part of an Open University degree course in Psychology. Module One: Freud For Beginners.

To their credit, Noble's team did next to nothing to hide what this was all about. Not only was their car the biggest metal sausage you have ever seen, they had also seen fit to christen it Thrust. Big Andy, the driver, would clamber inside the huge throbbing torpedo while back at base, Noble vicariously slapped his manhood on the table and invited everyone to examine its acceleration.

And there was even an accommodating American on the other side of the desert who was prepared to do just that, as the backer and driver from a rival bid to break the sound barrier on land turned up to give Richard's whatsit the once-over.

In the end, the plucky Brits saw off the Yanks and burst through the barrier, and this at least was fascinating stuff. The waves of force building up at the front of the car, clearly picked out by the desert sand, and the sonic boom were worth waiting for. And after this one, final, apocalyptic blast, Thrust was permanently consigned to the garage - which takes us on to Module Two: Intermediate Freud.

Life and Style
Fans line up at the AVNs, straining to capture a photo of their favourite star
life Tim Walker asks how much longer it can flesh out an existence
Life and Style
Every minute of every day, Twitter is awash with anger as we seek to let these organisations know precisely what we think of them
techWhen it comes to vitriol, no one on attracts our ire more than big businesses offering bad service
Professor David Nutt wants to change the way gravely ill patients are treated in Britain
people Why does a former Government tsar believe that mind-altering drugs have a place on prescription?
Norway’s ‘The Nordland Line – Minute by Minute, Season by Season’ continues the trend of slow TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Jonny Evans has pleaded not guilty to an FA charge for spitting at Papiss Cisse
Life and Style
Kate Moss will make a cameo appearance in David Walliams' The Boy in the Dress
The image released by the Salvation Army, using 'The Dress'
Liverpool defender Kolo Toure
football Defender could make history in the FA Cup, but African Cup of Nations win means he's already content
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Technical Presales Consultant - London - £65,000 OTE.

£65000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Technical Presales Engineer - central London ...

Recruitment Genius: Physiotherapist / Sports Therapist

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Physiotherapist / Sports Ther...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive / Advisor

£8 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives / Advisors are required...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Operative

£14000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable