TV WATCH THIS MONTH’S SCREEN REVIEW
As Covid- drifts with insentient resolve into its th month and a tenth strain of Death In Paradise emerges on BBC One, a tendency to over-reach for something positive to share is understandable. On January , Newcastle v Leicester, followed by Chelsea v Manchester City, was billed on Sky Sports, in common with most preceding Sundays, as “Super Sunday”. Like the most successful politicians, Sky’s approach to achieving truth is through repetition rather than accuracy. Decoding the inflationary language, “Super Sunday” becomes, in real terms, “Sunday”, just as the word “Hilarious’” on film publicity translates as two spontaneous laughs and Bill Nighy discovered deadpan in underwear. Sky do not have news, they have breaking news; similarly they must always have Super Sundays, never just an ordinary short, dark, January Sunday, of the type you spend wandering around the house halfdressed, eating Branston pickle from the jar until you cannot remember if it was Keith Harris or Orville who died.
Straightforward Sunday passed into Meandering Monday, via Martin Tyler, usually a sound, composed and unobtrusive narrator of the game. Often ignoring the action of a frenetic Southampton v Liverpool game in his keen-ness to finish a potted biography of a participating player, even with the ball pinging around a penalty area, Tyler stuck to his task of passing on historical information, maintaining at all times the provocative serenity of a man trying to remember his dentist’s mother’s maiden name as his family’s dinghy bobs and glissades towards the rapids.
In years to come, our grandchildren will ask us about the fabled FA Cup fourth and fifth round draw of (BBC One, January ) and, as we are putting aside our craft fayre crack cocaine paraphernalia
(recreational drug-taking being restricted to octogenarian revivalists in the future as Tesco will own every town and all citizens will wake up happy), we will speak softly of how Reshmin Chowdhury and Peter
B R A D F O R D
T I M
Crouch drew the balls that day. How they joked and laughed against the silence; how they, a little too brightly, filled the absence. How, in a bare studio, the two approached their task in the brave, cheerful spirit of a young couple left alone for the first time in their appalling studio flat.
Another strikingly positive individual is at the centre of the BBC documentary series Mark Wright: The Last Chance, in which our eponymous hero makes a delayed second attempt at becoming a professional footballer. While Mark Wright has carved out for himself a viable, if not central, role in showbusiness, he is still referred to several times in the first episode as “former reality star”, as if his earliest prominence on The Only Way Is Essex is just easier for everyone to remember. Wright comes across as a likeable, open fellow, but a little too much screen time is filled either by Crawley Town people telling us that this is not a publicity stunt, or Wright bowling around the place looking for someone to have an emotionally intelligent conversation with. At one point, as Wright and his brother discuss his situation with emotional intelligence, Wright slips his reins, so to speak. “Let’s smash this journey!” he yelps. And that, in four words, is specifically the soul of this programme.
Radio Live’s The Monday Night Club pops up these days on BBC iPlayer, allowing us to judge by their expressions whether its contributors really believe their professional opinion. On January , Mark Chapman conducted the heated debating of Chris Sutton, Micah Richards and New York Times journalist
NUMBERS GAME The figures behind the facts
The distance in yards of Newport keeper Tom King’s goal against Cheltenham, the longest scored in a competitive match
The amount spent by Premier League clubs in the January transfer window, the lowest figure since
The age of ex-Japan forward Kazu Miura who has signed a new deal with Yokohama
FC for his th season as a professional
I M A G E S
G E T T Y
( ) ,
A L A M Y