Mary Hannigan’s TV View: No escaping the The Fight of the Century™

Babies and boxing hog the screen, even on Clare Balding’s hyperbole hour

Mayweather versus Pacquiao was unavoidable be it outside Operation Princess HQ or with Chris Eubank on Clare Balding’s couch. Photograph: Esther Lin/EPA

Mayweather versus Pacquiao was unavoidable be it outside Operation Princess HQ or with Chris Eubank on Clare Balding’s couch. Photograph: Esther Lin/EPA

 

There really was no escaping The Fight of the Century™ all week, no matter how hard you tried, and even if you settled down in front of your telly to watch Kay Burley collar unsuspecting passing tourists – such as the Japanese man she thought was called “Trevor”, when he in fact he just said he liked “travel” – there was no getting away from it either.

At one point Kay summoned a breathless Arthur Edwards to where Sky was embedded outside Operation Princess HQ after the Sun photographer had snapped pics of little George arriving at the hospital, but his mind was elsewhere. Las Vegas, specifically.

Kay Burley: “Still waiting for the big one?”

Arthur: “Yeah – that was kind of the undercard, as they say in boxing. We’ve seen the first fight with William leaving, the second with George arriving, now we want the main event.”

Inappropriate analogy

Other than the new royal, the telly focus was largely on the fight. Even Chris Eubank had to talk about it when he appeared with his son – Chris Jnr, what else? – on The Clare Balding Show, and it never comes easy for Chris to talk about anything but himself.

Suitably massaged

Mind you, that paled next to Clare’s intro for ’Arry Redknapp – “One of sport’s greatest men” – which kind of delayed his arrival because he assumed she was talking about someone else. Tut tut, though, to the West Ham fans who scoffed at her declaration that he enjoyed “seven successful years at Upton Park”, these ungrateful Hammers forgetting that he led them to the Intertoto Cup in 1999.

But Clare outdid even all that with her description of Lennox Lewis, who appeared in a video with Chris Snr, as a man “regarded by many people as being the greatest heavyweight boxer of all time”. Not knowing about these things, you need to consult those who do, the gist of the response: “WHAAAAAAT?” And much mention of Muhammad Ali, Rocky Marciano and the like.

It’s a very friendly show, then, and while Clare is highly likeable, she is a touch over-generous – next week it’ll be “Chris SmallingBobby Moore, Franz Beckenbauer and Franco Baresi rolled in to one”

Possibly her only regret at the end of the show, though, was asking Chris Snr for his philosophy in life, just after giving him a gift of his favourite thing: strawberry bonbons. (Was he grateful? Not really: “They have to be fermented in a glove compartment for over three months”).

His philosophy (while chewing on his unfermented bonbon):

“I suppose what I’ve picked up, in short – pretend you are looking at a star, that star may be six billion miles away, pretend now you are on that star.”

[Clare and ‘Arry looking at studio ceiling]

“And you’re looking back at earth, and you’re looking at the pale blue dot and around the pale blue dot are hundreds of thousands of millions of other dots, planets. Every hunter and forager, every hero and every coward, every saint and every sinner in the history of the species lives there on a moat of dust, suspended in a sunbeam. [sighs]. The Earth. The only home we’ve ever known.”

’Arry shifted a bit uncomfortably, it was like no half-time chat he gave the ‘Ammers on their way to Intertoto Cup glory, although he might have been less impressed if he’d Googled it and discovered most of it was lifted from Carl Sagan’s book Pale Blue Dot.

Clare: “Harry, do you have a philosophy in life?”

’Arry: “Yeah – be nice to people on the way up ’cos you’ll meet ’em on the way down.”

Way more succinct.

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