Euro 2012 - All hail the forgotten hero
|BettingExpert/Betfair Euro 2012 blog correspondent entry profile|
|Nick Bruzon is a regular contributor for HereIsTheCity.com and BrentfordFC.co.uk as well as writing for the Brentford FC programme.|
|Twitter : @NickBruzon|
The Euros are almost here but, before we get too excited (and I am), let's pause for a moment of reflection in honour of the major participant that won’t be there. And I don’t mean Scotland – as ever the Tartan Army used qualification to choke quicker than George Bush Snr at a Japanese banquet.
No, whilst the Polish equivalent of Diana Ross is doing her best to miss an ‘opening ceremony penalty kick’ on June 8th, one man will be missing. Of course, I mean Channel 5 anchor and former ITV stalwart, ‘Big’ Jim Rosenthal.
Whilst he is a figure of fun for many, in recent years the gaffe prone presenter’s stock has risen in direct contrast to his falling audience figures as he was shunted out from ITV to the, seeming, nether regions of terrestrial television’s newest channel. Whilst Jim’s unique tan/fawn dress sense (clothing that would have given Roger Moore’s Bond safari suit a run for its money) may have sobered over the years, his presenting skills remain very much in style.
The double act with Stan Collymore, the ironic self-mockery of “Thursday nights, Channel five’ and the fact that no cliché or metaphor was too much have made Jim TV’s most popular anchorman since Ron Burgundy.
Watching last night’s Europa League final, he was on top form. Talking at half time about Falcao’s wonder goal, there was no shame as he oozed out the line, “Nicknamed the tiger, he’s scratching the lions of Athletic Bilbao”.
It got better, though. After Pat Nevin’s brief, but educated comments, Jim went into overdrive with a seamless link straight from the big book of Partridge as he announced, with his customary gravitas, “Coming up this Saturday on Channel 5, boxing with Kid Galahad and Chris Eubanks Jr but at the moment, its Athletico Madrid who are ahead on points.”
Alas. There will be no Jim in evidence this summer as the Euro games are carved up between the BBC and ‘the light channel’. His only ITV appearances these days are limited to that uneasy shifting behind the podium at the FA Cup draw. Even then, the ‘fascinating fact’ he reveals about each team as they are drawn is still streets ahead of anything Adrian Chiles could hope to come out with. Although, to be fair, he does sometimes struggle with some of the smaller clubs in the third round when there are 64 names to research. This year being a prime example, where the fact for ball 35, my team Brentford, simply revealed that they 'played nervously on Saturday’.
It’s a small gripe, though. In these days of political correctness police on every corner, such is his affable nature that only Jim could get away with accidentally saying, on a live broadcast, “Tessa Sanderson, she was one great spear chucker in her time”. Instead, we’ll be treated to the sledgehammer-like unsubtly of Adrian Chiles and his team. Frankly, I’m not going to mar this tribute to our fallen hero with a rant on the West Brom supporting boor. It’s a column for another day and I’m sure he’ll let himself down over the Euros. When the man in the ITV analyst’s box talking most sense is Gareth Southgate, then the viewing public is in trouble.
The contempt with which ITV treat the viewing public was again in evidence at this Saturday’s F.A. Cup final. Jim’s heyday would have seen a whole day of build up, including those awkward interviews on the coach. Instead, the build up started less than two hours before kick off and comprised two episodes of Jeremy Kyle U.S., then repeats of Murder She Wrote followed by Rosemary and Thyme. I’m not making this up. Check the listings.
It showed total disrespect for the viewer and a real missed opportunity. If they have to show this drivel then why not combine both elements. I’d have paid to watch Angela Lansbury in an FA cup special at Wembley or Fergie appearing in Taggart, chewing up the line “There’s been a murder”.
But I digress. All this goes to show us is what we’ll be missing out on over the summer. If the bosses at ITV are reading this (assuming the bosses at ITV can actually read) then it’s not too late! Treat your audience with some respect. Show some football and, most importantly..... Bring. Back. Jim.
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