Stuart Hall: BBC’s Jubilee coverage informed me nil and gave me a fit of the chavs

Our sport man shares his thoughts on a regal weekend - and his hopes for a return to form from Auntie in time for 2012

I’ve just emerged from my broom cupboard where I incarcerated myself, uplifted by Her Majesty’s glorious pageant. Forever I shall cherish the Royal College of Music gals belting the national Anthem soaked to the gunwhales and believing the words. 


I took to the cupboard at the BBC’s execrable coverage which informed me nil and gave me a fit of the chavs. If the populist face of Britain is David Beckham, Alan Titchmarsh and Cheryl Cole I quail and wail. I give you the antidote, the divine Clare Balding.

Epsom was a BBC Gloriana: perfection, exemplary. Clare was magnificent, eloquent, her syntax fit for purpose, but why was she wearing a deceased iguana on her hat? Do not miss her at Royal Ascot -later this month – she will be in total command of a superlative BBC crew. 

There will no fat head clowning around, as we saw from Tess Daly in Battersea Park, or a monosyllabic Matt Baker who doesn’t know his semaphore from his Singapore, adrift on a sea of metaphor. Clare has metamorphosed from the gal who terrified me reporting on the luge at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver in 2010; now she’s the finished article.

Which is more than you can say about England in the European footie tournament. Master Rooney will return in the nick of time like Dick Dastardly/ Superman/Charles Atlas/Prometheus to ignite England, put fire in young men’s bellies, and inspire them to render the National Anthem as those gals did in the rain on the Thames. 

Quo fas et Gloria ducunt (Where duty and glory lead). As you, dear reader, know, I am a fabled slave to “total football”, “cabaret football”, as performed by the Spanish. As this is the Diamond Jubilee year, I shall accept what Mr Hodgson delivers.

Hurrah! Tennis returns to the grass at Queens next week then Eastbourne, the rapier replaces the bludgeon. But will we see Richard Gasquet’s backhand, so fluent, so graceful, a thing of beauty. Please outlaw that two-fisted backhand before it destroys the sport. (A thought: does Andy Murray know the words to the National Anthem? I bet Gasquet can sing the Marseillaise.)

On the greensward England will lambast the West Indies in the third Test. Once in Berne, I spectated bear baiting: this crick et is akin. For comfort watch Clare again on the i-player. Hark diction, syntax and semantics, she’s a winner!


Exit, pursued by a bear, baiting.