Tv View: When FA Cup coverage makes watching indoor bowls the more exciting prospect

Meanwhile, rugby pundit O’Driscoll may have gained a few grey hairs

Gary Lineker looked a bit glum yesterday. On a weekend overflowing with FA Cup thrills and spills, the BBC ended up with Bristol City 0, West Ham 1, a game as exciting as watching an undercoat dry.

BT Sport didn't fare much better, bringing us Liverpool 0, Bolton 0 on Saturday. All the fun was happening elsewhere.

Setanta, then, were entitled to bathe in champagne after airing Manchester City v Middlesbrough, although it’s possible not many tuned in as it might have been deemed a training game for the home side.

All you could hope was that Gary hadn't persuaded David Attenborough, when they met on the Graham Norton Show, to watch the Bristol game and give football another chance.


Asked about his relationship with the game, Attenborough told us he “went to a terrific football match, Leicester City, 80 years ago – and that was the last match I went to”. Can’t have been all that terrific.

"Weren't you controller of BBC2 when Match of the Day was on?" Norton asked.

“I was.”

“But you didn’t cancel it?”

“No – I didn’t have to watch it, though.”

Bowled over

Not everyone’s cup of tea, then. David possibly instead opted to watch the

World Indoor Bowls Championship

from Potters Leisure Resort in Norfolk, also on BBC2.

Bowls has often struggled with a bit of an image problem, people assuming it wasn’t a young person’s game. This made the sponsors of the World Championships a bit unfortunate: Just Retirement.

That might have turned David off because, at 88, he says he has absolutely no plans to retire, enhanced annuities or not, but if he let that go, he’d have seen a mighty clash.

Rishi Persad would have had him well up for it too with a sparkling introduction, with slow motion action shots of Alex Marshall with Flower of Scotland as the soundtrack.

"He's a proud Scot and the bowls grandmaster once again stands on the very brink of history on this special day for his nation," said Rishi. But? "Standing in his way, another icon of the game: Andy Thomson – a Scots born English international," so that was that. Andy's flower wilted a bit.

Anyway, to cut to the chase, Alex won – on, of all days, Robbie Burns Day.

Andy Murray, meanwhile, began his match in Melbourne the day before Australia Day, but by the time he'd beaten Grigor Dimitrov to reach his sixth consecutive Australian Open quarter-final, it was Australia Day.

And so many questions did Channel 7’s Hamish Angus McLachlan ask the player after the match, it was almost the day after Australia Day when he left the court.

Andy took it in good spirits, though, even when Hamish began enquiring about his impending wedding right after his three hour, 32 minute grind against Dimitrov.

"Morning suit or kilt?" he asked. Andy said he wasn't sure yet. If he chose a kilt would it be a "proper kilt", asked Hamish. Andy (by now wondering if he was in an episode of You've Been Framed) said "obviously". "Ah," said Hamish, "freeballing."

(Eugenie Bouchard might have felt she got off lightly with that "give us a twirl" business).

“I’ve got a match to play in a couple of days. Can I go?” asked Andy, and, at last, he was freed.

Once upon a game

“Too many questions! He was worse than

Jim Courier

, ” said

Greg Rusedski

back in the Eurosport studio.

For those of you who are very young, Jim Courier was a useful tennis player who now conducts lengthy post match chats for telly. Similarly, for those of you under a year old, Brian O’Driscoll was a useful rugby player who now works for Sky Sports.

"Elliot Daly's 100th games for Wasps at 22 years of age . . . embarrassingly: 35 years of age, 186 games for Leinster. I imagine he might beat me," he sighed during Saturday's European Champions Cup ding-dong. Mind you, when Andy Goode's last-second drop goal attempt almost went over for Wasps, he probably felt as senior as David Attenborough. An ageing moment.