TV View: Spare a thought for ‘Judge Judy’ fans during Rugby World Cup
As they purred at the thought of it on TV3, it was all terribly serious over on UTV
Fireworks light up the sky during the Rugby World Cup opening ceremony. Photograph: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
Up and running, just the 47 games to go. It won’t be over until October 31st, so spare a thought for Judge Judy fans who’ll be irked by the sight of, say, Tonga and Namibia rucking in Exeter when they tuned in to TV3 to see Chuck and Lucy-May mauling over custody of their parrot.
Matt Cooper was unapologetic, evidently feeling the rugby world cup more than justified this schedule mangling, and when Keith Wood purred at the mere thoughts of “six full weeks of rugby”, Matt purred back. The tournament was the third biggest sporting event in the world, he said, the iffy claim the advertisers seem to believe, judging by the number trying to flog their wares all night.
While Matt continued to purr between ad breaks, John Inverdale looked like the cat who found a churn full of cream over on ITV. The channel’s signing from the BBC looked in to our eyes, declaring: “Once again [dramatic pause], the game that combines ballet with brutality brings the world together to create history.”
You could dispute the ballet, world, together and history parts of that particular assertion, but that would be crabby, and the opening ceremony was looming, and there’s no greater crabbiness-buster than an opening ceremony.
Before then, Keith, Matt Williams and Hugo MacNeill looked as surprised as they might do if Namibia beat the All Blacks when Matt told them, “Irish players are used to playing with greasy balls,” when all Keith had done was refer to damp conditions in the stadium due to the condensation from the big crowd. Luckily, it was time for another ad break so the panel could regain their composure.
Back to ITV and after the ad break John introduced us to his panel for the England v Fiji game: Jonny Wilkinson, Clive Woodward and Lawrence Dallaglio. No bias there, then; Fiji were sure to get a good hearing. A top-class panel, with a smidgeon of success between them, but if you were looking for a giggle or two, rather than . . . nudge, wake up . . . very serious rugby analysis, you were in the wrong place.
Martin Bayfield, meanwhile, was out on the pitch chatting with Jason Robinson, who came up to his belly button, and Francois Pienaar. Then Martin popped up in an ad reminding us about world hunger, a right mood dampener in the middle of all the festivities, 82,000 people too busy belting out Sweet Caroline to care.
Opening ceremony time. The ghost of Jonah Lomu running through the Leicester high street; fireworks; a little boy singing World in Union; John Hayes representing Ireland in the parade of legends and looking uncomfortable atop his glittery platform as he was forced to salute the crowd in a “Seig heil” sort of way.
A small William Webb Ellis Garryowened the ball into the stars before it landed on the Twickenham turf, having become enormous in the process. “It may resemble the ploughing championships, but this is the opening ceremony of the Rugby World Cup 2015,” said TV3’s Conor McNamara, which was rude.
An emotional Prince Harry said: “I can think of no other sport where the success of the team is shouldered so equally,” which would have had the Kerry and Dublin teams pelting their tellies with tomatoes.
And, with the Queen saved, it was match time. ITV’s Nick Mullins reckoned somewhere in a Fiji village the residents were crowded around their single TV hoping the generator didn’t fail, and you checked your watch to make sure it was the 21st century.
England’s generator looked like failing occasionally, but they muddled through, job done.
And then it was time for ads.