It is a common misconception that if you cut a worm in half you get two worms. You don’t. What you actually get is two dead pieces of worm. They will wriggle about a bit – as you would if someone chopped you in half – but ultimately it’s just dead worm cutlets.
And that’s no good, is it? You’re better off with one complete living worm than two dead halves. Yet that’s what we have this year with split F1 coverage on British TV screens. Instead of one great product – be it on BBC or Sky, I really don’t care – we have two inferior broadcasts. Two wriggling bits of half-dead worm trying to catch our attention before the giant foot of destiny lands on their expiring bodies.
For the first time this year I split my strategy and watched the BBC for build-up and Sky Sports F1™ for the race. Returning to the BBC pre-race was very familiar and comfortable, like a big warm jumper made of men. It’s Jake being overly earnest, basically turning his role into a drawn-out (and brilliantly executed) audition. DC meanwhile runs about in those tight white jeans like one of Mick Jagger’s wives from the eighties, deadpanning all over the place and generally acting as the unlikely voice of reason.
And then there’s Eddie Jordan. Eddie’s like a captive bear, tethered to an unmovable pole made of his own ego and dancing to a tune that exists only in his own head. One day it will drive him mad and he’ll chew off his own paws, but until then the children will come and throw money at his feet and he’ll dance like his life depends on it.
If you hadn’t twigged from the above ramble, I like the BBC presenting trio. The Three Stooges have a level of chemistry that is lacking on the Sky Sports F1™ effort. The familiar way in which Jake, EJ and Coulthard horse about can’t be bought or created overnight. If Sky Sports F1™ anchor Simon Lazenby slung his arm around Johnny Herbert that way I think the little man would chin him. Johnny is, after all, from Romford, which is where the act of chinning someone was invented.
Furthermore, Coulthard’s stroll around the track with Pedro de la Rosa was a laugh, if you like middle-aged millionaires having a joke in the sun (I do). You can’t imagine Damon Hill doing that, can you? Damon has the look of a man who is always thinking about his tax return forms. Maybe you could have a laugh with him while he was filling out his tax return forms, but that would make for odd TV.
Elsewhere on the Beeb Lee McKenzie remains her brilliant doom-mongering self. She has not quite inherited the mantle of trailblazing proto-punk-rock feminist pioneer Louise Goodman yet, but she’s in that league. In a sport that generally relegates women to the role of decorative lycra-clad baubles with bleached teeth, Lee holds her own, retaining her uncanny knack for accosting drivers and demanding to know how disappointed they are.
And that’s not all. Following on from my post-Bahrain music rant, the BBC dropped a bit of Beastie Boys into the pre-race show. Now that’s a proper choice of tune, and fitting following the recent passing of Adam Yauch. Mega.
But despite what a recent newspaper article may have said about me I’m not biased. Hey, it’s not all perfect on the BBC. Technically brilliant as he may be, Gary Anderson scares me too much to really enjoy his contribution. He’s like a girlfriend’s dad with that lingering air of menace he carries about with him. You’d like to get on with him, but it’s quite difficult given the fact that he knows what you’re doing with his daughter. That’s no basis on which to build a friendship.
But it could be worse – imagine being Gary Anderson’s wife and having him saying he loved you. It would be like any normal person detailing some horrific murder in extreme detail.
Anyway, after the BBC build-up it was over to Sky for the race. I have nothing against Ben Edwards or DC as commentators, I’d just rather watch a GP with Martin Brundle calling the action. I’m used to it. It’s like a big warm jumper made of a man from Kings Lynn.
I think I’ll do this again in future, watch The Stooges do their thing pre-race and then entrust commentary duties to Martin and Crofty. It’s not always going to be an option, but I can take the Sky only events as a chance to do some comparison work.
But I can’t help but feel disappointed by this dilution of the coverage, this slicing in two of one good product to leave us with two inferior halves. I’m sure one will expire shortly – and I know which it’ll be – and I can’t help but feel disappointed about the way this has all played out.
A rouge reporter, Jack Lamure’s view do not necessarily represent those of Badger GP or, indeed, his own opinions.
NOTES AND UNMENTIONABLES
* This weekend’s GP Hangover was induced by a combination of London Pride, an ill-advised tequila, Pims, mysterious cider, Cava and several cans of Red Stripe.
* I don’t think Johnny Herbert would ever chin anyone. He’s a lovely bloke. That said I’ve never been to Romford and I aim to keep it that way.
* With some types of worm cutting it in half will not kill it but rather leave you with one very short worm and one dead bit of worm. But that didn’t fit what I wanted to say, so I lied – lied about worms!
* Lee McKenzie should do the new line of Scottish Widows adverts. The way I see it, she’s dressed in that sweeping black gown, billowing about a cemetery like a spectre at a party. She happens upon a young woman weeping over the grave of her gone-too-soon-husband. Lee proceeds to jam a microphone in front of the bereaved’s face and say: “Hannah, the love of your life gone at 29 – sum up your disappointment for me.”
* Sky Sports F1™. Just in case you were thinking of stealing it.
* If I found out Gary Anderson was my girlfriend’s dad I’d politely break up with her and move to Guam. It simply wouldn’t be worth the terror of Sunday dinner at their house. He knows his stuff though and is, jokes aside, an asset to the BBC team.
* Louise Goodman may or may not like punk rock. Regardless of what music she’s in to, Louise is a very cool lady who took the wearing of bangels to whole new levels during the nineties.
* I feel bad about how mean I have become towards Damon Hill in this column, having called him ‘a beared shop mannequin’, implied that his face is haunted by George Harrison and now suggesting he has the look of a man always doing his taxes. Damon, if you’re offended by this I’d suggest considering the fact that you’re a multi-millionaire F1 world champion while I am a troubled copywriter who works from a tumbledown pub in South East London. You win mate.