Avert your gaze, weak virgins. There’s something the BBC thinks you’re too sensitive to look at.
Something with Morgan Freeman, a member of South Korean boy band BTS, and some camels.
No, not that.
It’s the opening ceremony of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, a country almost everyone agrees that should never have hosted due to corruption and human rights abuses.
Whether this was the reason why the BBC didn’t let us watch Morgan and his camels, or allowed three of their commentators to perform Wilson, Keppel & Betty’s Desert Sand Dance in deep and reverent honor to the Islamic Peninsula, I cannot tell you.
The Beeb rarely feels the need to explain these things to its license payers.
Lecture with butt face
Instead of the opening ceremony and football chat, however, we were presented with an indictment by Gary Lineker: “Since Fifa chose Qatar, the smallest nation that hosts football’s biggest competition has faced some big questions, from allegations of corruption to to the treatment of migrant workers who built the stadiums where many lost their lives.
“Homosexuality,” he continued, “is illegal here.”
Just as homosexuality was illegal in England when it hosted the 1966 tournament.
However, intuition tells me that no matter how much the BBC loves to judge and trample on the past, this particular World Cup will not be written out of history.
Similar instincts also lead me to believe that when Harry Kane lifts the trophy on December 18th, an estimated 6,500 dead migrant workers will be pushed into the footnotes of the history of this tainted tournament in the minds of almost every senior BBC executive whose Compassion almost certainly is outcome dependent.
However, had the BBC talk started and ended with Gary’s opening speech, I don’t think viewers would have been as upset as they were at the end of Sunday night’s programme, because Gary wasn’t the only one who was serious.
He was joined in Doha by Alan Shearer, Alex Scott and Ashley Williams.
Back in the BBC studios, we had news heavyweights like Jeremy Bowen on hand to answer the question, “How important is it for this tournament to be in the Middle East?” “It’s massive.” Thank you Jeremy.
Before he cleared that up, however, we were subjected to an incredibly dour discourse from reporter Ros Atkins, who took a forensic look at migrant worker deaths and warned us that the carbon footprint of this tournament could be anywhere from 3.6 million to 10 million Metric tons.
There was, of course, an obvious and simple way to reduce a significant portion of this pollution.
Auntie could have got Alan, Gary and the rest of the gang to stay home and cover the tournament from Manchester.
A perfectly sensible move that would have discouraged even cynics like me from pointing out that the moment the BBC should have stopped lecturing on the ills of a trial, it was at the precise moment that they were decided to become part of this process.
But no, rude and smug as ever, the BBC has decided it needs to be on the ground in Qatar while still believing it is mysteriously above everyone and everything.
Some thanks must go to Lineker, however, for at least raising the thorny issue of “hypocrisy.”
Wisely, Shearer and Williams stuck to their advice.
Alex Scott, however, never missed an opportunity to make a mark of virtue, and launched a heartbreaking diatribe about Gianni Infantino’s salary and migrant workers, which included a quote from Nelson Mandela that must have meant very little to anyone but herself.
But it was enough to ask Lineker, “Why are you here?”
“I love my job,” came the insightful response from Alex, who without the appearance would be just the bare bones of The One Show, Children In Need, Football Focus, The Tournament, The Games, Sports Personality Of The Year, The Wheel and dozens of other important cameos.
It’s a “me first” approach that’s not exclusive to Alex, of course.
For, as the hastily abandoned plan to wear One Love armbands has shown, it’s the grating contradiction that lies at the heart of almost every awakened cultist on the planet, stirring up the rest of us to no end.
Because there’s no gesture so empty they can’t make it, and no true self-sacrifice so small they won’t go: “Wait a minute. And me?”
REMAINING in terms of deaf subtitles was the most helpful World Cup performer yet, Saad Al-Sheeb, prompting this screen legend to perform: “That was more comfortable for our sheep in the Qatar goal.”
All other examples were gratefully accepted.
Finally they are real celebrities
It was Letters From Home Day on Sunday, I’m a Celebrity. . . Get me out of here!.
Jill Scott got one from partner Shelly and told her, “There’s a flat white coffee waiting for you.”
Zara Tindall told husband Mike she and the family were missing “daddy hugs”.
And Matt Hancock got one from his constituency leader, who told him, “Bring your showboating ar*e back here now, you half-witted idiot.”
But only in my own imagination.
In reality, he just got a sticky blah from his squeeze Gina Coladangelo, which went down in the bushtucker trial’s speakeasy like one of Ant and Dec’s Bum & Cola cocktails.
That being said, however, I have almost nothing to offer but praise for this year’s series, which has seen ITV finally endowing some brilliant bookings – Hancock, Boy George and Chris Moyles – with significant cash rather than an ITV2 spin-off show you probably hadn’t even noticed missing.
It was hugely entertaining, and in the process taught us that as much as the public dislikes Matt Hancock, it hates the empty tokens of virtue of the likes of Charlene White and Boy George far more.
The icing on the cake this year was the return of this beautiful jungle canopy, the excellent performance from the presenters and the fact that it remains the only show on TV where you’ll ever hear those words, from December: “Did you see the relief.” when Matt Hancock realized the vagina wasn’t that big?”
I did. And it was huge.
Unexpected idiots in the packaging area
TIPPING point, Ben Shephard: “How many minutes is there in half an hour?”
The Wheel, Michael McIntyre: “Name a country where Spanish is the official language.”
Gloria Hunniford: “Portugal.”
Celebrity Mastermind Clive Myrie: “The Latin expression Per Ardua Ad Astra – Through Adversity to the Stars – is the motto of which of the British Armed Forces?”
David O’Doherty: “Tottenham Hotspur.”
(In collaboration with Andy Jacobs from TalkSPORT)
Egomaniac of the Month
Adam Hills from THE Last Leg who said: “A lot of things happened while we were free but I think it’s fair to say this is the big one.
“I don’t know if you know, I have a few letters – an M, a B and an E.”
Make it a Massive Bell End.
AMAZING I’m a star. . . Lies and delusions of the week.
Sean Walsh: “Owen is such a wise young man and he’s really good at articulation.”
Fat DJ Chris Moyles: “I’m the biggest broadcaster of my generation, but most people know me as the fat DJ.”
And Charlene White: “I’m strong, I’m confident, I’m loved, as Boy George says.” Yes, and he’s wrong, too.
CLARIFICATION: On Wednesday night’s Deals On Wheels Dingo Dollar I’m a Celeb Challenge, had Matt Hancock and Mike Tindall saying, “We have two spiked helmets.”
you have a helmet And Mike Tindall.
THIS The week’s “hellguy” is comedian Frank Skinner, who told The One Show: “The best football I’ve ever seen at an English football team was this summer and it was the Lionesses.”
He obviously doesn’t mean it with a word.
But in Frank’s own mind, he’s clearly a “hellguy.”
Great sporting insights
PAUL MERSON: “England have 11 on the pitch that could beat their own 11 on the pitch.”
Lee Henry: “Sterling always produces, but he doesn’t always.” And Markus Robins: “Viktor is one of a kind and there aren’t many like him.”
(Compiled by Graham Wray)
World Cup mystic of the week seems to be Alex Scott for this eerie prediction about England’s opener against Iran: “It’s not going to be an easy game. They face a team that is so well rehearsed and organized tactically that it will be difficult for us to break them up.”
LEO WOODALL’S appearance by Joey Essex as Jack in The White Lotus (Sky Atlantic).
A cheerlessly irreverent episode of Blankety Blank that ends with a dude in a wheelchair winning a tent, a sleeping bag and a game of swingball.
The Welsh Red Wall with a goosebumps World Cup rendition by Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau. And David Baddiel met all the right people in his brilliant Channel 4 documentary Jews Don’t Count, including Corbyn’s Labor Party, where he also apologized face-to-face to striker Jason Lee at Fantasy Football, which was not well received as long as Pope John Paul II’s apology to Galileo (359 years), but it was definitely more circumstantial.
Doppelganger of the week
THIS week’s winner is Fifa weirdo Gianni “I feel gay” Infantino and the cartoon version of Karl Pilkington. Mailed in by Richie James.
Image research: AMY READING