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Two cannot be serious!

Byline: KEVIN O'SULLIVAN

Highlights from Clare Balding's not-so-gr8 highlights show Wimbledon 2day... Clare: "That's the number 2 not the word two because we're on BBC2."

Or, in case you find that dauntingly difficult to understand, number two as in a piece of crap.

But, with a plucky Brit to discuss, Clare declares: "Liam Broady's having a good Wimbledon." Yeah, he won a whole one match.

Turning to a bemused John McEnroe, the reclusive host continues: "You know his beard... it's got its own Twitter account. Are beards a big thing in America?" Clean-shaven John sensationally reveals that he used to have a beard and snarls: "You're gonna go to a shot of that because you have that ready, right?" A bemused Ms Balding: "No."

Reminiscent of his glory days as the bad boy of the Centre Court, McEnroe explodes: "Then what the hell are you asking me about beards for?" Good question.

This was day three of a dumbeddown disaster unfolding before our very eyes.

Dreadful, of course, but definitely the best instalment so far...

Because it was mercifully cut by 20 minutes. Kept off the air while Venus Williams drearily thrashed some unknown outsider on Court 456. A clear sign that bungling Beeb bosses were beginning to realise the magnitude of their catastrophic error.

In embarrassing dad-dancing mode, BBC2's hip cats had decided to aim their nightly analysis slot at da kidz. 10is, innit.

God knows what the hell the daft old duffers were thinking. But this seems to have been their fatuous four-point plan...

1) Ditch earnest John Inverdale and his alleged dodgy sexist tendencies... and bring in rare Clare, who we really don't see enough of on TV.

2) Dump the traditional studio above the courts and switch to the pretentiously named Gatsby Club, a soul-destroying corporate hospitality suite. Second-rate beach bar meets linen curtain shop.

3) Recruit a TFI Friday-style baying audience, slam on the rock music... and get humiliated duo McEnroe and Martina Navratilova to high five the crowd as they run to commune with Balders. Excruciating.

4) And for God's sake don't bore the viewers with all that tedious tennis tosh. Unless it's home videos of babies bashing balls at their cooing parents. Hashtag: Anyonefortennis.

Eclipsed by Venus, Clare sighed: "We are sadly not going to have time for anyone-for-tennis today." A nation rejoiced.

For 14 solid years in that golden era before the BBC deluded itself it could be groovy, Inverdale and his expert guests let the games do the talking.

Not rocket science... just a highly professional route-one programme for the vast majority who'd come home from work anxious to catch up with the day's action. It wasn't broke... so they simply had to fix it. And ruin it.

Amid an empty hour of inane tweets, unhilarious comedy moments and important dispatches about how the irritatingly silly fans stay cool, we got 15 minutes of sport.

Although the obsessive Beeb over-uses her to a criminal extent, the omnipresent Balding's a fine broadcaster. But amusing off-thecuff banter is not her strong suit. Nor is tennis.

Now the panicking producers are frantically changing this travesty of a juvenile format as they go along. Pathetic.

Meanwhile, the banal slowfire repartee carries on regardless. Laugh-a-decade Clare: "Do you like jokes?" McEnroe: "I love jokes." We all do. But the joke they call Wimbledon 2day isn't funny...

CAPTION(S):

DOUBLE FAULT Clare and John
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Title Annotation:Features; Opinion Column
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jul 5, 2015
Words:567
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