CHRISTOPHER STEVENS: Why's Bugs Bunny in a film about football?

CHRISTOPHER STEVENS reviews last night’s TV: Why’s Bugs Bunny in a film about football? Time for an early bath

Kicking Off: The Rise And Fall Of The Super League


Great British History Hunters


Good grief, I’ve got a headache. It feels as though I’ve been force-fed magic mushrooms and interrogated by a Gestapo officer with a strobe lamp.

The football documentary Kicking Off: The Rise And Fall Of The Super League (BBC2) has left my eyeballs on the point of explosion.

For the entire hour, the screen flickered with subliminal images, many appearing for less than a second, that throbbed in time to truncated bursts of Mozart or 1990s rock. Moments of newsreel, cartoon, black-and-white film and stock photography whirred past like the pages of a flickbook.

The effect was physically nauseating and exhausting.

Kicking Off: The Rise And Fall Of The Super League would have been better as a ten-minute podcast according to Christopher Stevens

One of hundreds of collages began with video of angry football fans carrying flares before cutting to police marching in hi-vis jackets, switching to a pair of hands clapping, then jumping to a shot of an inverted banner, all in the space of two seconds — and all with the added layer of an echoing voiceover.

At one point we glimpsed a split-second of Elmer Fudd holding Bugs Bunny at gunpoint, and Bob Hope peering through a hole in his newspaper. The kindest explanation is that the editing team need to lay off the caffeine.

Court call of the week

As contestants struggled to make a pair of basketball shoes on The Great British Sewing Bee (BBC1), Sara Pascoe revealed her husband has more than 200 pairs of trainers. ‘It’s always nice to know why you’re getting divorced,’ she said, ‘even if you don’t know when.’

More probably, the patronising BBC decided that any viewers interested in football would have attention spans measured in milli-seconds. There is an irony in that.

One of the villains of the tale, Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, was shown on a Spanish cable show called El Chiringuito (meaning ‘Beach Bar’) advocating that football games were too long, at 90 minutes, to hold the interest of the average teenager.

Perez was clearly deluded, as was the failed plan he concocted last year with the billionaire owners of other clubs such as Chelsea and Juventus to set up a breakaway European league.

Because this is the Beeb, the documentary included a half-baked attempt to smear Boris Johnson for this scheme.

Apparently, the plan — worth an estimated £300 million for every one of the ‘Dirty Dozen’ clubs who signed up — could not have gone ahead without No 10’s connivance.

Is there now nothing, not even sport, for which the BBC won’t blame Boris? It’s probably his fault too that the Queen’s horses have pulled out of next month’s Derby!

Strip away the atrocious visuals and the political bias, and there was about enough material in this overblown programme for a ten-minute podcast.

Great British History Hunters follows metal detector enthusiasts and their search for historical treasures

There’s a far greater trove of interesting stories under our own feet, as the enthusiasts armed with metal detectors in Great British History Hunters (More4) proved.

Michelle from Shropshire, who took up detecting to help with her anxiety attacks, discovered a gold coin from the reign of Richard III, folded into a triangle like a samosa. Knights did that before battle, she said, so they could swallow their money and keep it safe.

That’s what I call putting gold into circulation. It fetched £40,000 at auction.

A ribbon of Bronze Age gold discovered by 11-year-old Paddy and his dad sold for £1,000. Paddy keeps half of that, and he’s buying a new detector.

But not all the metal is priceless. Tracy, whose children nickname her Mum the Mole, dug up a rusty blade she identified as a medieval sword. A friend examined it and said, ‘No Trace, that’s a hinge off a door.’

Tracy shrugged: ‘You’ve got to have a good imagination.’

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