The Winter Olympics have arrived, and with them the chance to complain about something other than the fact that they are being held in Russia – I mean, of course, the commentators.
The British like to complain, and it is no surprise that I have posted on the subject before. In this instance, the 300+ complaints were directed at the commentary on Britain’s first ever medal ‘on-snow’ as I think it is called, in the snowboarding, the medal in question being a bronze for Jenny Jones. Here she is, a little excited and incoherent, in the wake of her medal win. If you’re feeling masochistic, after a couple of minutes they bring her parents in as they used to do on This is your LIfe, or Surprise Surprise, and she has to have a moment with them.
There you go. Well done. It is perhaps a fallacy of modern sports’ ‘journalism’ that an immediate reaction from a winning or losing competitor is a good ‘bit’. It never is, particularly where there is nothing the competitor could possibly say of interest. It reduces pretty quickly – immediately in the case of Jenny, above – to how are you feeling? What choice does she have but to say, it feels amazing?
If Jenny was excited, however, she was not as excited as the ‘team’ of commentators, that latter day Greek chorus. They cheered when the last competitor fell on her backside guaranteeing bronze for Jenny, they wept in the commentary box, they hugged, they jabbered, they said nothing of interest – since in fact there was nothing of interest to say beyond what was happening in front of our eyes – and that was that.
Over three hundred people were so incensed, they communicated their ire directly with the BBC, and the BBC was forced to issue an apology. Excellent. That won’t be happening again. God forbid we should taint a moment of significant national pride and togetherness – a medal in a sport which no one has ever watched before – with anything so undignified as excitement. I don’t know what they’ve done with Richard Dimbleby, but he, or at any rate, becoming gravitas, are due a comeback.
There, that’s got that off my chest.