Sunday, September 09, 2007

ITV - a fundamental lack of class

After a mere two days just how many reasons are there to loathe ITV's coverage of the Rugby World Cup? The sense-numbing exposure to the same half dozen adverts, the cumulative hours taken up showing you the same chest-beating titles sequences and ad bumpers, the plodding summarising from saloon bar blowhards like Stuart Barnes, the studio full of former captains with damaged ears who are never given the chance to get up to speed, the uniformative reports from "inside the England camp" and the reflexive recourse to that brand new non-word "physicality", which simply means big and tough. (It's like an athletics commentator pointing out that, gosh, the runners do go quite fast, don't they?) If a miracle happens and the BBC do get this event back in the future they should only retain one person and that's the former England player Will Greenwood. He has things to say and can say them in the thick of a game. I would show you an example but ITV's site can only run on Internet Explorer. Says it all really.


  1. Anonymous10:16 pm

    Hear, hear and thrice hear. It's the age-old ITV disease of having to fit in too many ad breaks, because they couldn't slot one in during the action (although you know they'd love to, if they could).

    today, I watched Francois Pienaar and Sean Fitzpatrick sit there and be allowed to say nothing, because there was no time. The word analysis is clearly a dirty one in the world of ITV Sport!

    As for the commentators... if only they could have persuaded Bill McClaren out of retirement!

  2. You could have it worse, ITV bought TV3, one of the four Irish TV channels and proceeded to change it to ITV Ireland (It wasn't any great shakes before hand) so we know have twice the rubbish. The worst kind of celebrity obsessed crap, not even to mention their sports "coverage".

  3. Bugger that! Did you see quite possibly the worst programme ever to be aired - "Don't call Me Stupid"? Good grief - Bez (well paid maracca shaker and big acid stamina man) swaps lives for one day with William bloody Whittaker (royal correspondent and queen-specialist). It was unbelievably appalling and gut-wrenchingly tripe-worthy shite. It was worse than when The Word set up Oliver Reed. Bez is not stupid. But by god they plied him with red wine and made him look like a lurching Manc-ey puppet of nonsense. It was truly terrible. It all culminated in William W having to answer questions about 'the Manchester scene' of which he got 5 out of 10 right and Bez (who was impressively two sheets to the wind by now) getting 6 out of 10 questions about royal etiquette right thus 'winning the show'. What show was this? It was so inhumanly awful I felt defiled even subjecting myself to it. And yes - any site that can only run on Internet Explorer is rubbish.

  4. Perhaps, like Champions League football, the Rugby World Cup has got into bed with the sponsors so much it'll never be seen on the BBC.

  5. I miss Brian Moore. Never thought I'd say that...

  6. I like Will Greenwood too. He knows his onions - for instance in the Wales game yesterday where he pointed out it was the players, not the ref, who shout 'Turnover!!!' - and he comes across as a good egg. He even cheered on Shane Williams (GO SHANE!!!) when the little fella made a break. Englishmen aren't supposed to do that. It's against the rules.

    Commentator's curse meant that Ickle promptly dropped the ball with no other players within 5 metres of him. Bugger.

  7. Anonymous1:49 pm

    Hmm, I disagree about Greenwood. His "go Shane" just came off as unprofessional in my view. Canada were playing brilliantly and he started squealing every time the Welsh backs started to run with the ball.

    He also began the commentary with one of the most laboured introductions I've ever heard. It sounded as if he was reading it straight from a script in front of him.

    But ITV Sport is universally bad, whether it be Champions League football or... er... more Champions League football.

    Lastly, the picture quality on ITV 4 is truly appalling. I've seen clearer pictures streaming over the internet!

  8. I partially agree with you. I know that Jim Rosenthal is apparently seen as a "safe pair of hands", but whenever I see him I'm afraid it just sums ITV up for me: he's full of bluster and soundbites and little smirks, but he totally fails to engage me and absolutely lacks substance and authority. That and the fact that he's surrounded by people without the time and room to say anything interesting. It's not so much that Martin Johnson, Fitzpatrick and the like don't have anything to say, because I've seen on them on the BBC and they can be insightful commentators on the game... it's probably much the same reason that Des Lynham always looked a bit uncomfortable on ITV too where he rarely did on the BBC --- lots of chatter in his ear, adverts on the way and a need to speak to Gabriel Clarke on the touchline.

    My point of disagreement is in the commentary. I actually think that Sky present the rugby very well, and however ITV got hold of Miles Harrison and Stuart Barnes, I don't know. Yes, I know they're not in the Bill McClaren or Ian Robertson mould, but I find them to be more than acceptable and often cast quite a lot of light on a match. Certainly better than the BBC who would probably wheel out Eddie Butler (who is awful in all his faux-lyricism) and no doubt Barry Bloody Davies for the smaller games ("OH! did you see that?"). Greenwood is good too, in that he entertains and informs. Not as good as the radio 5 coverage, in which Robertson and Alastair Hignall (both excellent) are joined by people like Matty Dawson.

    Harrison and Barnes will do us fine if we get some decent games. Even ITV's coverage can't ruin them, surely? Although does anyone else get the wobbly sound on commentary?

    I can't get over how much smaller the players were in the early world cups. Even some of the same players (Mike Catt, Dallaglio, even little jonny wilkinson) are twice the size they were. What's that? No proper drugs testing in rugby?

    Ah, that explains the sudden muscle bulk then.

    No matter how dreadful England were on Saturday, it was still better than watching the football though.