We wux robbed. The BBC corrrrnentary tearrr for The Winter Olympics didn't actually allow themselves to utter those three little words after the ice-dancing final. btrt yotr knew they were jtrst aching to.
This nation may have given tip believing in the divine right ofkings four centuries ago. but when it cotnes to Torvill and Dean. it’s difficult to shatter the conviction that they. and only they. are worthy holders of the Olympic gold medal for prancing abotrt on ice to synthetic rnedleys of show- tunes. Britain may not have much to be proud of. btrt when it comes to choreography. triple axels (whatever they are) sequins and grins. we can still show those foreign johnnies a thing or two.
It was an idea implicit in the commentary of Barry Davies. l)avies cuts a tragic ligtrre in the BBC these days. Back in the mists oftirne. his unusual combination of blind patriotism and literary analogy made him the regular number one on Mule/r ()l'l'lrt' Day. a kind of little linglandcr with a (iron/tr subscription.
‘Britain may not have much to be proud of, but when it comes to choreography, triple axels (whatever they are) sequins and grins, we can still show those foreign johnnies a thing or two.’
in the years post-Motson. Barry seems an increasingly marginalised and bitter employee of the Corporation Wheeled out for Wimbledon and the occasional women's hockey international. Barry throws himself into any task with professional enthusiasm. but you can‘t help but feel his brooding humiliation as he effortlessly reels off the names of the Russian ice-hockey squad. remembering to soften the right consonants and put the stresses in their proper places. When it canre to the ice- dancing though. he brightened up considerably. for here was a chance to cheer borne a British medal. and he wasn't going to let those Russian shy sters spoil his enjoy rrrent. As the frankly raunchy ()ksana (iritschuk (the event ral w inner) took to the ice Barry informed trs. disapproyrngly. ‘The judges said she had to wear a skirt. and she's chosen a (lecnledly short one.‘ The subtext was ‘lllis llighty little bimbo w ill try anything to steal our mcdal'.
65 The List 25 February ll) March l‘)‘)4
Willi fellow patriot Alan Weeks ‘kceping fingers crossed' you half expected the pair of them to be out on the ice with crowbars when the Russians were performing. As it was. they kept a dignified silence for most of the routines. resisting even the temptation to snigger when the unfortunate Finn fell on her bum.
Come the marking though and the indignation was palpable. This. of course is the area where ice-dancing relinquishes its already shaky claims to be a sport and enters the realm of the lirn’ovrvrmr Song Contest. Points are decided by a complicated system encompassing national prejudice (the French never do well on account of this). patriotism (the British judge could always be relied on for a perfect (r for Torvill and Dean). cspedience (the Russians. L'krainians and Belorussians were loath to give T and l) anything ruore than a 5.8) and perhaps a tiny bit of skating skill. In the same way that Germans are rarely
allowed to win Eurovision because
they've invaded most of the other countries within living memory. the
British pair were always going to suffer
for coming from such a cocky little island. and being millionaires to boot. Willi our fairy-tale heroes eventually
coming in third. Davies went into
retrieval mode. a familiar evperience from all those years of covering British flops in every field of sport you can imagine. ‘There‘s no doubt about who the crowd wanted to win.‘ said Davies. as the cameras panned over the barmy army ofcrochet—knitted T and l) groupies from the Home Counties with their lfnion Jacks and teary eyes. (live the Russians time. Barry. and perhaps they too can develop a uaff suburban culture with a passion for toothy clean- ctrt couples and sultry syncopation.
‘As it was, they kept a dignified silence for most of the routines, resisting
even the temptation to
snigger when the unfortunate
Finn fell on her bum.’
As it was. Jayne and Christopher themselves were the sanest people around. lischew ing the Hastings option they grinned bravely. paid tribute to the Russians. and no doubt nrurmured under their breath ‘We w tl/ robbed’. Now it's all down to the four-man bobsleigb. (Tom Lappin)
A selection of television highlights,
listed by day, in chronological order. Television listings compiled by Tom
I Only Fools And Horses (BBC I) 8—8.50pm. Repeated classic comedy. with both Trotter brothers experiencing woman trouble.
I Surgical Spirit (Scottish) 8.30—9pnr. Nicola McAuliffe stars as the stroppy surgeon Sheila in the rrredical sitcom.
I Drive (BBCI) 8.50—9pm. Alexei Sayle teaches us to drive safely in a series of ten-minute amusing films with a serious message.
I Love Hurts (BBCI ) 9.30- 10.30pm. Adam Faith and '/.oe Wanamaker star in the turgid tale of menopausal romance. with l-‘rank's business dealings causing personal strife.
I Home Improvement (Channel 4)
930- 10pm. Tim Allen stars as TV handyman Tim Taylor. unearthing a snake in the basement when he tries tising the furnace.
I Roseanne (Channel 4) 10- 10.30pm. The discovery of a mysterious stash of marijuana leaves Dan and Roseanne in no doubt that they are getting old.
I The Jack Dee Show (Channel 4) l().3()—l 1.05pm. The grumpy stand-up turns his attention to l)lY and ‘crinkle-cut nails. . . screws 1 think they‘re called.‘
I Alien (Scottish) l().3()pm—-l2.4()am. The first of the trio of deep-space horrors. starring Sigourrrey Weaver as Ripley. the female lieutenant left alone to face the murderous alien running rarrrpage around her space-ship.
I The Word (Channel 4)
ll.()5pm-»12. 10am. Terry Christian. l-luffty. Dani Behr and Mark l.amarr introduce more salacious show bi/ chat and tnusic.
I Fantasy League ’94 (BBCZ)
ll.lS—-l 1.45pm. A further rustalrnent of the shoddy soccer game—show. with l‘r'arik Skinner and David Baddiel.
I The New Adventures Of Superman (BBC l) 5.30— (r. ISpm. The superhero drama continues with Superman threatened by a strange glowing green crystal. See preview.
I'Casualty (BBC 1 ) 8. l5 9.05pm. Charlie l
celebrates his fortieth birthday while contemplating resignation in the final episode of the current series.
I Unplugged: Elvis Costello (BBCZ) 8.35-9pm. An acoustic session with the acerbic l.iverpudlian songwriter.
I NYPD Blue (Channel 4) 9 -l()pm. Laura is the only witness when an assassin arnbushes (iiardella. Meanwhile a werewolf visits the station-house with news of a murder.
I Arena: The Ring (BBCZ) t) roosprn. A revealing portrait of the life of bare- knuckle fighter Paul Lynch who answers
I 9.50» 10.40pm. With three new British
I NB Special (Scottish) ll).4()~ll.~1()pm.
treatrrrent. Bryan Burnett files a special report from Nashville. while assorted
the challenge of a man known only as Thel Cyclone to ﬁght in Londonderry.
I Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush (Channel 4) 10—] 1.05pm. Breakfast king Chris Evans frosts the live entertainment and game show with help from fellow wackoid Jools Holland.
I United States Of Television (Channel 4) I l.()5—l 1.50pm. Laurie Kightlinger takes a trawl through the wilder extremes of American TV offering a compilation of some of the more bizarre shows on offer. tonight with particular emphasis on
I Late licence (Channel 4) 12.2()--4.()5am. Channel 4's service for insomniacs includes Viva Cabaret. Roger Mellie and Free performing live (a couple of decades ago) at the Isle of Wight.
I Moviewatch (Channel 4) (i~().3()pm. Johnny Vaughan hosts the liltn review show from crusty capital Bath. where punters report their verdicts on Slim/orrlu/rtlx. Short Cuts and The Ballad UflJlI/t' Ju.
I Anna Lee (Scottish) 8.25— 10.25pm. Despite a cool reaction to the pilot episode. Imogen Stubbs returns as the feisty detective with a penchant for short skirts. Her first assignment is a seemingly straightforward missing persons case which leads to the discovery of shady dealings in the lilrn business.
I The Naked Gun (BBC 1) 8.25—9.45pm. ()ne of a slew of post-Airplane! spoofs. starring Leslie Nielsen and Priscilla Presley in a daft amalgam of sketches and gags. tied up by a loose plot about an attempt to assassinate the Queen in Los Arrgeles.
I Schindler ( BBCZ) 8.30-9.50pm. Coinciding with Steven Spielberg's film. this is the true story of ()skar Schindler. the flamboyant German industrialist who saved rrrore than a thousand Jews from the concentration camps.
. .. .. - yi‘»? I Come See The Paradise (Channel 4) ‘)--l l..i()pm. Alan Parker's film looks at the internment oflapanese Americans after l’earl Harbour. Dennis Quaid plays a union activist who marries into a Japanese farrrily and experiences prejudice at first
I Moving Pictures ( BBCZ)
films about serial killers v- ll'lir'le Angel. b’ov .llt'elv (irrl and The Hawk — on release. Howard Schuman looks at our fascination w itlr murder. mentioning classics like Hitchcock‘s Ierrzv (shown directly afterwards).
Country music gets the definitive All}
Scottish performers offer renditions of country classics back home in a Glasgow