Mickey Blue Eyes...
Adrian Gets The Bullet
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Mickey Blue Eyes


Late word reaches your correspondent of the employment demise of the main ITV football presenter, Adrian Chiles, apparently soon to be replaced by a high-octave bank clerk named Mark Pougatch. I am unsurprised and undismayed. After all, ITV sports presentation has been a tureen of warm spit for as long as I can remember, no false hysteria left unspooned. Chiles is probably best out of it. Pougatch - nicknamed Poogash by our youngest family member - is much nearer the ITV norm.


Actually, I like Chiles' understated avuncular on-screen personality, which I think a welcome counterpoint to the sheer bullshit of usual football presentation and commentary. At least he looks and sounds human. But both he and Des Lynam suffered the same fate after transferring from the BBC; both learned the sad lesson that success in commercial TV requires absolute submission to the lowest common denominator. It has been that way since at birth in 1955 ITV Sport introduced us to a pratfall named Gerry Loftus; they also experimented with Danny Blanchflower until it dawned on the Suits that his commentary voice had all the attraction of a fingernail scouring a blackboard. There have been many other examples, from the cockney imbecility of Jimmy Hill to the suburban vacuity of Brian Moore to the please-help-me-out shtick of hapless Matt Smith and the dull modular Manc bias of Clive Tyldesley. However, all of them pale into insignificance when compared to one Dicky Davies, an odd marionette even by ITV standards: he was famous for a centre white streak in his hair, which drew the query from one local pub patron, "Has that soft cunt finished that fuckn ceilin' yet?" No wonder neutrals fled from the game in droves.


To be fair not all ITV commentators have been a disaster like on-air racist Ron Atkinson. For instance long ago Gerald Sinstadt was more than acceptable when on Manchester-based Granada TV. Sadly, he was shipped out in 1980 after he fronted a World In Action  special titled The Man Who Bought United,  a documentary that exposed the (mis)doings of Manchester United owner Louis Edwards. A month after the programme went out Edwards died and Gerald was banished to the south coast, a fall guy. At about which point ITV Sport switched from regional broadcast of matches to national broadcasts fronted by Moore and the kind of absurd hype you can find only in Gillingham and soap advertisements. The logical conclusion was a commentary duo of Clive Tyldesley and one Andy Townsend, the latter sacked along with Chiles.


Over the years, the irony is the worst example of all was not from ITV but from decidedly-weird David Coleman at BBC Sports, an organisation that to this day suffers from the stick inserted in its arse by "Lord" Reith in the 1930s. Coleman was bad in football, but you had to hear his athletics commentary to suffer the brunt of a male harridan in full screaming pursuit of......what? Wherever you looked, there was Coleman, his arm draped around the winner of whatever glory was at hand, triumph and fame by association, everything badly chauvinist in sports, an appalling fellow. Ever since, ITV have stirred their format Petri dish looking for a new strain to combat Colemanitis. Some of the mutations have been so bad Mary Shelley might have learned a lesson or two from them. These days they are virtually beyond parody. Long ago the Monty Python crew made a brief attempt to show the absurdity of it but even they surrendered after just a few sketches failed to surpass the reality.


It was all reminiscent of the even-longer-ago glorious American music satirist Spike Jones, who said he gave up taking the piss out of popular music when its perpetrators started taking themselves seriously; what he would make of current peasant troubadours at Glastonbury scarcely bears thinking about. (The other day I ended up on the floor kicking my heels when one of them said "My biggest musical influence was Lonnie Donegan." Oh my aching sides.)


But if from its inception ITV Sport was frenzy incarnate, what of the other BBC inmates of the asylum? Those of a certain age will remember the smug bucolic commentaries of Kenneth Wolstenholme and bristling moustache and RAF tie of Coleman's mentor, Peter Dimmock of Sportsview.  Wolstenholme became a derisory figure in the mid 1960s after a pre-match videotaped visit to nearby analfield, when, as the camera panned around the empty ground (then an appalling slum of a place), he intoned, "Here we are at the famous ground where tonight's game will be played and the fabulous....." and so on and so forth, the usual claptrap. The shot eventually came to rest on him standing en duet  with their manager, who promptly said, "You commentators don't half talk some shite don't you." Of course none of that ever got into the ether, though Wolstenholme revenged himself later with the kind of churlish match commentary which made him notorious. Hell hath no fury like a tenth rate "personality" scorned, ITV or BBC.


Furthermore, all aspiring BBC TV presenters are obliged to attend a specialist finishing school where they acquire the Reith Breath Jump, a performance technique designed to impart control and seriousness, but which also removes any trace of natural charisma through their anal canal. Only a tiny minority manage to retain their humanity; the men who graduate end up sounding like, well, like Gary Lineker or Steve Interesting Davies; the women sound like graduates from the Hyacinth Bucket School of Elocution and the Katy Jordan College of Deportment. All of them seem to have a lemon wedged somewhere in the lower intestine.


Now, none of this is meant to underestimate the difficulties of football TV presentation and commentary. After all, it must take all of two weeks to pass the training course and indoctrination process. This problem is common to most TV presenters of anything. Too many of the current crop are more intent on making themselves a "character" at the expense of their subject, the reigning supreme footy charlie of which is follicly-challenged Mark Clemmit of the BBC Football League Show,  a distinctly peculiar individual who has great difficulty keeping his eyes open and his head straight. Which is why, quite rightly, your averagely intelligent fan figures he or she is just as capable.


The truth is of course we fans can never be satisfied with the free-loading media gang. This is fair enough; if someone promotes him or herself as a public figure then they are bound to be on the end of very public criticism. That is the price they must pay. I am sure, for instance, there will be those who do not like Adrian Chiles for some obscure reason or other. So what? For another instance, I stopped watching Match of the Day  when they employed the ineffable moron Alan Green as a low level commentator. For yet another, I do not have a Sky TV subscription and never will because it is owned and profited from by the disgusting ultrarightist Rupert Murdoch.


In the end, if you dislike one of them to the point of aversion....turn him off. It is that easy.


And, anyway, it relieves us from brooding about our present parlous position.......




Comments about Adrian Gets The Bullet
Big fat ugly boring baggy
Markblue3, Huyton, 12:45 PM 30/01/2015
As grotesque as Chiles was he is not in the same pit of turgid inadequacy and total ineptitude as the arsehole that is Bellend --- sorry Townsend.
blueboy1, west derby, 8:21 AM 29/01/2015
Maybe they can give the lead booted octopus Carragher the job as Chiles's replacement? Not enough ex red know nothing fuckwits on tv I.m.o
keef1878 , crosby , 11:35 PM 27/01/2015
Adrian was a great personality sometimes the games were so bad he said so.What we get now will be another ex red shite spouting nonesense or some hyperbole spewing git confusing personality and wit with cockney twattery, i will miss Adrian and his face like a robbers dog whenever he has to say Well that was the first half it can only get better,
les, wirral, 6:45 PM 27/01/2015
Surely Chiles meets the criterion for success in commercial TV - the epitome of dumbed-down lowest common denominator. Perhaps we was sacked for being too "avuncular." Poor uncle Adrian. Can't understand how he holds down his job as anchor of the Radio 5 Live afternoon news programme. Just abysmal. Happy to learn that Townsend is also leaving the ITV football commentary team, but in my view neither of these two hold a candle to the execrable Tyldesley in the dross stakes.
Dr Huhruhurr, Hull, 4:35 PM 27/01/2015
Agree with @4 that that untalented idiot Townsend was unerringly anti Everton at every opportunity.
John T, Bristol , 10:33 PM 26/01/2015
One of the great comedy moments of all time involved Chiles' commenting on abandoned England-Poland tie. He was brilliant! Realised the nonsense of coverage and was self-mocking throughout. I will miss him.
connie-London Blue, London, 7:53 PM 26/01/2015
Who's arsed about Chiles?, he's got the personality of a wardrobe, and was as likeable as the other tosser Townsend, who was so anti Everton i couldn't listen to him let alone watch.
daz.m, st.helens, 7:06 PM 26/01/2015
In the day loved Gerald Stinstadt,probably because if he slagged off our team,his surname rhymed with a four letter gem,and the decibels from the St.End was cranked up when Granada came to town,also he looked like one of those cold war espionage blokes who never gave Harry Palmer a minutes peace.As for Andy Townsend he went to bits when his much maligned Tactics Truck,was clamped and ITV couldn't be bothered stumping up the readies to set it free again and enlighten us with untold football wisdom,as for Adrian Chiles,i liked him because he didn't watch his P's and Q's giving the studio pundits blunt questions to unsettle there stereotypical guises.He can always turn to Harry Hills shocking Stars in there Eyes,and say "Tonight Harry I'm going to be Ray Mears singing "Born Free",one of my favourite broadcasters was north of the border,the cheery faced Arthur Montford who could give Motty's sheepskin a run for it's money with his own style of bulky winter protection.
the obsructed view, liverpool, 6:33 PM 26/01/2015
Chiles was fucking awful...pompous git...good riddance
Ken.t, Anglesey, 4:50 PM 26/01/2015
Sorry, but I didn't like Adrian Chiles when he was at the BBC and didn't change my mind when he went to ITV. He is totally devoid of any personality and added nothing to the football coverage The cry in this house was always " oh no, the match is on ITV so it's that irritating Adrian Chiles!" and the the sound would be muted instantly.
jeannieb, cheshire, 4:39 PM 26/01/2015
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