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?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Manager - Software House - PRINCE2, PMP

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A dynamic, customer oriented Pr...

Recruitment Genius: Relationship Sales Advisor

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an inbound relationship...

Recruitment Genius: Electrician - Based in Petersfield

£19600 - £25800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working in the South, based in ...

Guru Careers: Trainer / IT Trainer

£30 to £32k : Guru Careers: We are seeking a Trainer / IT Trainer to join an a...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Supporters of the No vote react after the first results of the referendum at Syntagma square in Athens  

It’s not whether we’re rich or poor, but what we expect that really counts

Ben Chu
 

Daily catch-up: Greek Yes voters were so shy they didn’t even turn up to the polling stations

John Rentoul
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate