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

Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Associate / Partner - Bristol

Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Syrian refugee 'Nora' with her two month-old daughter. She was one of the first Syrians to come to the UK when the Government agreed to resettle 100 people from the country  

Open letter to David Cameron on Syrian refugees: 'Several hundred people' isn't good enough

Independent Voices
Amjad Bashir said Ukip had become a 'party of ruthless self-interest'  

Could Ukip turncoat Amjad Bashir be the Churchill of his day?

Matthew Norman
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project