EUROS FOOTBALL Gary Lineker's team score own goal on BBC punditry (2024)

Welcome to the summer TV schedule, as sparsely populated as the England front line. If you don’t like politics or football, your personal ITV3 consumption will already have skyrocketed.

We now must scour this TV desert for many weeks for any scraps that the TV schedulers happen to have forgotten about which they can toss our way. Yes, feel free to make the joke.

The real pinch point, for non-sports fans, will arrive when strawberries and cream sweeten the offering with Wimbledon. I was once told that the BBC receives more complaints about the tennis tournament than anything else. If that’s you, just ask BBC Verify if anyone is watching. Then it’s just the Olympics to trundle through.

A significant horde of us is watching the Euros Football (BBC1/ITV), around 10m for one England match. Who wouldn’t? International football served up just after tea-time with quality players on offer.

In a surprising move, the BBC have unofficially dropped political correctness so they can ‘bloke up’ this event with a free-for-all on mispronouncing foreign players’ names for comedy value.

The best/worst example happened in a pre-match discussion of Albania’s match against Italy, and the player, Jasir Asani.

Pundit Alan Shearer quipped to fellow commentator Micah Richards, ‘You like A-Sarnie, don’t you?!’ Richards laughed, thankfully. He could have construed it as implying he had a healthy appetite.

On another BBC pundit panel, we had a “Turkish Delight” to describe one goal, while Gary Linker deliberately strangulated a foreign player’s name in the sign-off from an evening show.

Ironic, since Lineker is the first to complain about these issues in the non-football world.

His former colleague on MOTD, Ian Wright, who is now on ITV, showed them how to do it. In a discussion about the rainy weather, he said they should rename the host country “Germanchester”. Bit of class from Wrighty.

Royal Ascot (ITV, Tues) was another gilt-edged performance from ITV. OK the challenges are not great in describing a horse racing event, but you do need some special creative skills to think of something to say while four ancient horse-drawn carriages proceed gently down the home straight at Royal Ascot. No potholes there. In his day, I'm sure Prince Philip would have preferred an all-out carriage race, with whip-in-hand.

As it was, the current King and Queen looked dignified and cheerful as they made their way along the immaculate course, with one pundit describing Camilla as looking “resplendent in cobalt blue”. I thought Cobalt Blue was in the King George Stakes.

As they arrived at the enclosure, out came the phones from the invited well-hoofed throng, while the horses in the first race were hooded so they didn't hear a polite cacophony of bowing and scraping.


There was slightly less respect for a fictional Royal dynasty, along with a healthy dose of enmity expressed in Kings Landing for the return of the second series of House of the Dragon (Sky Atlantic, Mon).

There’s basically a massive family feud here, with Aegon now on the throne looking like the doziest monarch imaginable. It’s a job for life, however short.

His audience with his subjects was hilarious as his “hand”, played compellingly by Rhys Ifans, countermanded every decision. Hasn't Spike from Notting Hill done well?

The real entertainment began when the dragons arrived. As with Thrones, its predecessor, there’s something oddly real about these elegant, mythical creatures.

I wanted Sir David Attenborough to chime in, “Rarely seen beyond their habitat, these extraordinary creatures are to be betrayed at your own cost…”

The climax of the episode was the chilling assassination of the heir, by a comic double act, including a rat catcher. Think Blackadder. Cleverly, we could only hear the blood-curdling scene, which was far more powerful.


The summer endurance test for our grey matter called Love Island (ITV2, Tues) continues to befuddle. Not that I recommend you start watching as it seems to have run out of steam, a few weeks in.

The “entertainment” rests on the shoulders of one contestant, sweet seller Sean, who could be one of the most naïve islanders to have ever graced the villa.

He found himself having to choose between two girls after his first choice Tiff went elsewhere for love. He was lovelorn.

This may have something to do with the way he talks to other islanders which is straight out of the 1950s -- and not in a good way.

“Come and get your sugar daddy,” was one, though appropriate for a confectioner, or “You're looking like a strawberry milkshake bottle.”

One can only think of his friends and family who must be thinking, “There’s someone for everyone,” or “There are plenty of fish in the sea..”

That’s another two cheesy lines we haven't heard. Yet.

You never know Sean may be in his element when Casa Amor begins.

EUROS FOOTBALL Gary Lineker's team score own goal on BBC punditry (2024)
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