Monday, 9 June 2008

Schedule A: Euro 2008 Day Three

Holland vs Italy

Why is it that the BBC use 'Netherlands', while ITV are going with 'Holland'? Anyway, we're with ITV1 for the start of their tournament 'proper', and they've finally got main anchor Steve Rider in front of the camera for this. Andy Townsend is on the pundit rota again, along with Bolo Zenden, who we've been told we look like. Not sure if that's a good or bad thing for us, and we're not entirely sure he's the perfect person to epitomise the flair and total football ethos you'd expect from the Dutch, but he seems coherent enough, and it is only ITV.

We're enormously chuffed with the 'Screencap' TAP for our new Toppy 5810 PVR.

Getting our first proper look at ITV1's title sequence, it's much more impressive than we'd assumed it was going to be, based as it is around the theme of classical music. No-one seems to be playing up the Swiss participation in this tournament, it's all about the Austrians. A shame, because we really do think our Hannibal Brooks running serial idea has legs.

Interesting to see that they're not repeating the trick from Saturday night's game, where a roving reporter was sent to mingle with Portuguese fans in Geneva. Hang on, not Geneva, a bar in London. This could be because the 'interview' with a roaringly drunk Briton acting as surrogate Portugal fan went down so badly ("And here's an Englishman supporting a team at the European Championships. Why have you decided to follow Portugal?" "[drunkenly] Port-u-gaaaaal!" "Why have you decided to follow Portugal?" "[wobbling slightly] Why not! Port-u-gaaaaal!"), or more likely because there aren't any Dutch or Italian pubs within walking distance of the ITV Sport studio.

No more mobile phone cameras in front of the telly for us.

England crowbar-o-meter: Referee Howard Webb is at the finals, so we've all got someone to support after all. If his participation leads to an excellent joke along the lines of the caption 90 Minutes magazine used to accompany an aerial shot of the English referee present at the USA'94 World Cup finals, then it'll all be worthwhile ("P. Don, from a great height." We miss 90 Minutes).


If you've got a Toppy, and you want to use it yourself, visit here. As you might expect, interlacing does cause a bit of an issue, but otherwise it's splendid. It even uses the programme title as the filename for the screenshots automatically.

ITV have also got their own 'virtual replay' machine, just because the BBC have got one, and both taking their lead from Sky Sports ten years ago. That's ten years! From when the phrase "Virtual [x]" was still worthwhile. As ITV have their digital simulation narrated by Andy Townsend, they lose this particular battle of the gadgets, with the BBC having recorded the dulcet tones of James Richardson for their 'Euro Classics' series of goal analyses.

UK sets will need to press the "Exit" key on your remote to bring up the options once the Screencap tap has loaded, so you can change the 'capture' button from the 'UHF' remote button, as there's no such button on UK remotes.

Hey, what happened to Bet365 groundbreaking offering of live odds in their adverts? Bert Kwouk is all very well and good, but we quite enjoy seeing things like that. Of course, we also enjoyed seeing live odds during matches when Ladbrokes did exactly the same in their Oracle pages over twenty years ago. It was things like that during our formative years that have turned us into such hardened (and useless) gamblers in later life. Don't mess this up for us, Podolski! BrokenTV needs a new pair of everything.

While it's not technically anything to do with the TV coverage, the new Adidas footballs used for this tournament look great on screen, having the appearance during matches of the classic Adidas Telstar. It's a bit of a shame the new ball doesn't look anything like as good in a proper photograph (as below), and 'Europass' is a bit of a stupid name, but on-screen it looks just super. The Adidas Telstar is the Adidas Superstar of footballs, if you will. A reference for people into trainers, there.

Literally Police: "The Italians were literally running around all over the place, there", Andy Townsend. Hmm... we'll let that one pass Mr Townsend, but consider yourself on a warning.

All in all, nice enough coverage of an enjoyable match, with a refreshing change from the BBC's studio technique of having four blokes being annoyingly 'matey' with each other. Bring out The Chiles, BBC! Unless you already have done for France-Romania, because we missed it.

[Edit: Just checked the PVR, and it's Lineker again. He is earning his money this time around, we suppose. We're not going to sit through the 0-0 France-Romania match, though.]

[ITV Sport: +2 points]


4 .:

Steve Williams said...

Those Euro Classics things are UEFA-produced, by the way, hence the presence of Richardson, the non-Beeb style of the graphics (not the virtual replay bits have "hoardings" rather than BBC Sport) and the endless reference to UEFA. Natch.

I dunno why the Beeb are showing them, maybe they've been forced to because they can't show the sponsors' break bumpers - and boo to Mastercard for just reusing their Champions League bumpers, which is lazy.

Mark X said...

Ah, of course. This was mentioned the other day on the Guardian's Euro 2008 podcast, where Barry Glendenning good-naturedly called Richardson a corporate shill, after a NZ-based listener mailed in to say he was on their coverage as well.

Speaking of the Mastercard bumpers, while I can understand why they're doing it, the whole practice of making ad campaigns with no actual speech so you can chuck them out in any part of the world (like the Champions League Vodafone 'score updates' ones) annoys me in general. What's that Mastercard? You don't deem the sixty million potential customers living in the UK enough incentive to spend a few quid making a ten-second advert just for them? Well, sod you, then. Bring back Access and Money, I say.

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