Matthew Norman on Monday: Surely the best is yet to come from John Inverdale

Plus: Irvine Welsh live tweets sensationally obscene comments on Murray v Djokovic

Share

Viewers of the Wimbledon women’s final on Saturday will have noticed Dr Walter Bartoli’s restraint.

His refusal to hint at a smile when daughter Marion won the title made the Henman Parents, those leading pioneers of living cryogenics, look like Judy Murray overdosing on nitrous oxide. One cool Corsican he obviously is – yet can it be true, as John Inverdale, posited, that Walter launched the infant Marion on the path to glory by advising her to concentrate on the tennis because “you’re never going to be a looker”?

Even by the standards of the tennis-coach father, this seems harsh. Yet who can doubt the wisdom of this most insightful sporting sage? There are those who see Invers as a minor public school Richard Keys, a hybrid between the archetypal rugger bugger and an über-narcissist who takes tranquillisers whenever he finds himself more than 2.9 seconds from the nearest mirror. This cruelly overlooks the depth and versatility of a man who may on no account be caricatured as a dim and preening, neo-Partridgean paean to arrogant smugness.

Three years ago on Radio Five Live, during the police operation to capture Raoul Moat, he gazed at the feed from the paradoxically tranquil Northumbrian village on his monitor, and brilliantly ad-libbed: “It’s almost like watching an episode of Midsomer Murders.” After refusing to speculate that his father told the five-year-old Moat to concentrate on the shooting since he’d never grow up to be Brad Pitt, why he wasn’t rewarded with a Newsnight berth is beyond me. Please God the Beeb has the wit to cling on to Invers’ services now. From this ridiculously talented broadcaster, the best is surely yet to come.

Masterclass in sports interviewing

Invers was not the only luminous star of the BBC’s Wimbledon coverage. On Five Live, tennis correspondent Jonathan Overend’s doughty resistance to giving the score during games lent a seductive air of mystery to the listening experience. But pride of place goes to Garry Richardson for a robust interview with Andy Murray, who submitted that he didn’t feel he deserved a telling-off from coach Grinner Lendl after recovering from two sets down to beat Fernando Verdasco. Precisely how Garry concluded that he is the Woodward and Bernstein of sport is unclear, but his commitment to bringing the spirit of Frost-Nixon to the post-match chat illuminated the event like nothing else.

The BBC’s next big signing, perhaps?

As for Irvine Welsh, once again we thank the novelist for his hilarious and sensationally obscene tweets during Murray’s matches. Perhaps the BBC will consider hiring him as a summariser next year, and pairing him with Simon Reed, Oliver’s younger brother, whose superb commentary felt so out of place among the avalanche of dross.

Take pity on poor old Rupert

I am distressed to find Rupert Murdoch under fire over his pep talk to Sun journalists. As this column has regretfully mentioned before, the infirm old boy no longer knows whether he is Arthur or Martha, and it demeans us to taunt him for being unsure, on waking, whether any given day will be the humblest or cockiest of his life. His shareholders’ retention of his services shows a commitment to occupational therapy unseen since Mr Tony Blair recalled David Blunkett to the Cabinet in the hope that this would help him sort his head out.

Strange coyness from the Mouth of Humber

Mr T’s leading useful idiot of old takes another principled stand. John Prescott has resigned from the Privy Council in protest at its “highly political role” in degrading post-Leveson press regulation, and no one doubts the sincerity of John’s feelings as expressed yesterday in his lucrative Sunday Mirror column. By the way, we still await his response to the arrest of four Mirror executives, including a former editor of his own title, in March. There were fears that outspoken John would have something to say about that, and might even resign. But on this the Mouth of Humber prefers keeps his counsel most privy.

Never again, says Esther – twice

On the Mirror website, meanwhile, Esther Rantzen has benefited from a droll juxtaposition of headlines. “‘Never say never again’ – Esther Rantzen reveals she has a new man after 13 years alone,” read one. “This must never happen again: Esther Rantzen says lessons need to be learned over Jimmy Savile,” read the one directly beneath it. Mixed messages from Neverland, perhaps, but a joy to find Esther shaking off the shackles of self-effacement that had blighted her for so long.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive - OTE £25,000

£13000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to be part of a ...

Recruitment Genius: 1st Line Technical Support Engineer

£19000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT and Telecoms company ar...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Manager - Visitor Fundraising

£23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Visitor Fundraising Team is responsi...

Recruitment Genius: Developer

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
An investor looks at an electronic board showing stock information at a brokerage house in Shanghai  

China has exposed the fatal flaws in our liberal economic order

Ann Pettifor
Jeremy Corbyn addresses over a thousand supporters at Middlesbrough Town Hall on August 18, 2015  

Thank God we have the right-wing press to tell us what a disaster Jeremy Corbyn as PM would be

Mark Steel
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future