The mental health of BBC Match of the Day Euro 2012 host Colin Murray seemed to deteriorate badly as the European football championships progressed. I gave up watching the Beeb after a spectacular rant by Murray left Lee Dixon open-mouthed. Dixon was talking about Portugal, and then a strange knocking started. I’ve never heard anything like it in a TV studio. The strange knocking was Murray slapping the desk repeatedly. He stopped when Lee Dixon forgot what he was supposed to be saying and just stared, but then, not having made his point, Murray started slapping the desk again.
They even took the camera off both men and settled for a long shot, but the camera did briefly catch the Northern Irishman writhing in his seat like Cruise on Winfrey, his mouth twisted, his eyes popping out of his head. It was an extraordinary display. His problem was Helder Postiga, the nothing-worse-than-average Portuguese striker. Murray didn’t think Portugal should play him. But why the hateful histrionics? Was it an example of Jubilee jitters, Pre-Olympic nerves?
In Murray’s defence I can only think that some kind of youthful producer may have called for fighting talk from Murray, and through some kind of warped effort to reach out to the fighty 16-24 males, Murray decided to behave in a way that he hoped might make that group snap out of their late night drunken slumbers and join Murray’s cries for the execution of Postiga. It didn’t work, and Murray just looked insane.
So it doesn’t looked good for the Olympics if the Beeb, desperate to reach the yoof, start lobbing beer cans at each other. I’m dreading the boring but knowledgeable Brendans and Steve Worthy-Runners being elbowed after two weeks for mouthy comedians a la the BBC’s darkest day and the Queen’s damp squib flotilla. “So it’s over to Fern Cotton track-side where she’s interviewing Gordon Ramsay in a tracksuit”. Please help us someone.
So Murray’s peculiar forced hatred of Postiga. Well it was the embodiment of a laddish reaction to Postiga’s short and unsuccessful spell in the Premiership. He scored two goals, one of those against our beloved Liverpool. Basically, Postiga appeared to be a bit of an expensive-Alice-band-on-glass-ankles foreign import, not suited to the outmoded take-yer-legs-out style of 1950s retribution football that has made English soccer so unsuccessful for half a century.
I switched to ITV’s Euro 2012 coverage with the excellent BBC escapee Adrian Chiles. My enjoyment of the Euros was suddenly quadrupled. My favourite Chiles comment on Spain’s staggering multi-faceted brilliance was “That’s not a diamond. That’s a cube!”
I found a great Chilesism on You Tube, “It’s temporarily rather quiet here now!”
Maybe that siren was an ambulance removing the ranting Murray from the BBC outside broadcast van.