A bird's-eye view of sport, translated by two humans. With added waffling.

Monday, 13 August 2012

The BBC Olympics team: part 1 of our report cards

It might just be painfully obvious that we've loved every minute of the Olympics, and that's due in no small part to the superb coverage provided by the BBC. Special praise must be reserved for the hundreds of thousands of staff in their world-beating montage department, who've accumulated more exposure to saccharine schmaltz and Eddie Butler than can possibly be safe. All in the name of making people cry with laser-like precision. They have our undying gratitude. Not that we're undead, but… you know. It's a phrase. No-one likes a zombie owl: we get that now, and we've fired those marketing consultants.

Anyway, all things considered, they've done a fabulous job. But our screens and ears (and for the purposes of the rest of this sentence, our figurative fruit bowls) have still been infested with a veritable Tesco Value multipack of bad apples. For every Clare Balding, there's been a Trevor Nelson. Without further ado, here's the first instalment of our report cards on the presenters and commentators we've been subjected to over the past few weeks.

John Inverdale - F (8%). Competent at talking, but what does that achieve when each successive word annoys the bejeezus out of everyone? Smug beyond measure or reason; the personification of a smirk. Does not react appropriately in presence of greatness. Career makes strong case that BBC hiring criteria may begin and end at looking under nearest stone. Mentions own dead-end amateur rugby career far too often. Rarely presents behind a desk these days, perhaps due to discovery of his fondness for touching himself. Adopts editorial line of not giving a flying fuck about achievements of foreigners - nothing has happened until it happens to a Brit. Owns several pith helmets and might have missed vocation as well-funded but ultimately unsuccessful 18th century explorer.

Gary Lineker - F (12%). Cannot pronounce words with mouth. In English, at least - success with other languages as yet untested. Guttural utterances betray fundamental inability to understand sport or people. Based on apparent lack of interest or research, motive for branching out beyond football may be to defile Russian gymnasts. Reads scripted puns like a man trying to unlock a door with a watermelon: he'll get there, but only by throwing it through the window and leaving someone else to clean up the glass. Might be better suited to a role requiring him to deal only with potato-based snacks or inappropriate bowel movements.

Sue Barker - E (27%). Wimbledon yes, Jubilee yes. Anything with an audience beyond landed gentry with life-threatening brain injuries, not so much. Looks and dresses suspiciously like a pekinese - her fake human name should have been better disguised. Upgraded by one mark due to GoCompare mercy killing, though despite having a one-word script she even managed to make that boring. A Question Of Sport akin to being smothered inefficiently with a soiled knock-off cashmere blanket.

Matt Baker - D (43%). Jack-off of all trades now turning his hand to churning out vague gymnastics commentary while usurped experts scrabble around mopping up his slimy trails of bullshit. Smooth like a GI Joe; probably lacks genitalia but no realistic danger of anyone ever trying to find out. Maintains the pretence of having a family by hiring actors and mentioning them too much. Career progressing as if he's been nailed to an unmanned galleon heading inexorably toward wrecking on the rocks of the Antiques Roadshow.

Gabby Logan - E (19%). Failed gymnast and dancer on fast-track to completing career hat-trick. Presents like a golem - shuts down as soon as one unscripted word is called for and always slightly too late in trying to cover with inane laughter. Two unattractive personalities fighting over controls of a nosediving spaceship and rattling around like scared woodlice in an empty bucket. At least the live broadcast experiment seems to be over. Spinning incompetence as light-heartedness might not work forever.

Clare Balding - A (99.4%). Docked an arbitrary 0.6% for ingrained belief that dressage is a justifiable Olympic sport. Otherwise perfect. Intelligent, articulate, interested, passionate: asks sensible questions, enhances viewing experience, not just another identikit media studies graduate. Must be given precedence over her inferior colleagues in future, or BBC may lose her to successful career as owner of intellectual property rights to infectious celebration poses. Would welcome return of skilled ventriloquism act with wooden dummy Willie Carson back on her knee.

Mishal Husain - C (54%). Bland but comprehensible. Distant and cold, but interesting to get her planet's take on unfolding events. Lack of documentary evidence to the contrary suggests she was created in a laboratory three weeks ago. Reports suggest she fades into wallpaper rather than ever leaving studio - somewhat disturbing, but popular with colleagues as declining population of nearby insects cannot be a coincidence.

Trevor Nelson - F (7%). Played golf with a footballer once and sometimes wears hats so seemed ideally suited to put epoch-defining opening ceremony into proper context. Three weeks later, found standing on Haringey street corners offering to name producers of mid-90s R&B hits for pocket change, and still seems out of his depth. Possible route to redemption as grotesque carnival sideshow on MOTD2, but only if used by Machiavellian producer to undermine football's suffocating ubiquity from within.

Jake Humphrey - B (76%). He might not look telegenic or sound remotely interesting, but may yet overcome both handicaps. Listens to guests and reacts unprompted. Uses height to ably apply BBC house style of looking down on everyone. We're taken aback by his sudden improvement: surprisingly wide range of Chinese swimming contacts, so use of performance-enhancing drugs cannot be ruled out. Travels widely - ostensibly to cover fast cars, but cocaine smuggling another possibility. High tolerance for Eddie Jordan an obvious character flaw.

Garry Richardson - F (2%). Unfeasibly pompous. Ends far too many questions with "please" in mistaken belief that this is polite rather than its polar opposite. Dismissive and patronising. Cold, dead eyes; incapable of experiencing or conveying human emotion. Arrogance most likely derived from having killed. Known to arrange offsite interviews in attempt to control subjects' lives and bend them to his will. Sign on dressing room door apparently reads "The Puppetmaster". Query: syphilitic megalomaniac? Impossible to imagine him doing everyday tasks. May need to be forcibly withdrawn from circulation for safety of others.

Pending legal clearance, parts two and three should follow shortly. In the meantime, do let us know if there's anyone else you think deserves to be subjected to the withering scrutiny of our swivelling eyes.

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