I duly switched on to France v England rugby on BBC1 last night. Here follow some random observations on the coverage.
1. 'The referee is New Zealand' announces the commentator. What? All of it? I thought. The word 'from' presumably missing.
2. England, having had about 3 nanoseconds possession, take lead when Sackey notices the ball unattended, hoofs it forward and lands on top of it over the line. Wilkinson converts, Wilkinson adds a penalty. England 10 points up.
3. The commentator launches off about the 'fickle' French crowd. First sighting of clunking national stereotype.
4. Half time, England lead 13-7. Over for half time analysis. It must be cold as commentators are all wearing overcoats and funny multicoloured scarves. Did the BBC get in a job lot? The bloke in the middle is Jason Robinson but I can't identify the bloke on the right and didn't catch his name. He looks like Ant. Or is it Dec? Why is it that no-one knows which is which?
5. Pan to young woman with microphone and Frenchman on touchline. The Frenchman is also wearing a funny multicoloured scarf. 'Are you a frustrated Frenchman?' she asks. He talks about the rugby instead.
6. French rally pluckily in second half. English player punches French player under the referee's nose (as it were). 'Fickle' crowd give rousing rendition of Marseillaise (see my blog on subject of Marseillaise below).
7. Wilkinson scores drop goal and penalty. Commentator pronounces on French persons 'smashing their pastis glasses'. Clunking national stereotype 2. I wait for claims that enormous pubic bushes are being anguishedly set on fire. They don't come.
8. Someone called Wrigglesworth wraps it up for England shortly before full time. We had a cleaner called Mrs Wrigglesworth when I was a boy. I wonder if they are related.
9. Where's that Chabal bloke (pictured)? Has he been dropped/injured/indicted for war crimes? He was always a good laugh.
Yes, I wanted England to win. Having said this, I also have Irish and French ancestry so my rugby loyalties can be remarkably flexible save for the one inflexible rule of all sporting events 'anyone but Australia'. Tedious and chauvinist cliches from commentators do grate, though.