What to watch (other than Euro 2016)

In a summer dominated by sports, what's a girl to do?


It’s time to smash open the glass box, the one marked In Case of Emergency, before breaking apart that glowstick, donning a high-visibility jacket and sitting incommunicado and alone for the next few months.


I have amassed more provisions than a survivalist hillbilly in my chic bunker as I prepare for what I believe is known as “the Great Summer of Sport”. Ah yes, what a feast – Euro 2016 and then the Olympics. I don’t count Wimbledon because I rather like the tennis, it’s neat, clean and easy to follow, and no one spits on court. Though all the grunting is tiresome.

But great big sporting tournaments and occasions that dominate the major television channels are torment if you’re not one of the gang – “football fever” might just as well be “scarlet fever”. Hence the Emergency Viewing: that treasured stockpile of box sets that have seen me through the dark days of World Cups and anything to do with athletics. Of course, these are neon beacons in the sporting calendar and they must be televised, I’m not saying they shouldn’t. If you enjoy all the punditry, the leaden sentimentality and the misuse (and indeed overuse) of the word “hurt” in relation to the England team, then be my guest.

The rest of us are used to handing over the channels to you sports lovers for endless weeks, even though you aren’t participating yourselves – just watching people you don’t know, who are paid unconscionable amounts of money.

No, by all means, take BBC1 and ITV. Go on, they’re all yours. We’ll simply sit here making lavender bags while we hunt for films about cupcakes on UK Tinsel & Fairy Dust or The Lady Channel (neither of which exist, though they should). Or we’ll look for a Tom Hiddleston season on the Tom Hiddleston Channel. That doesn’t exist, either, but let me write a cheque and appoint myself Channel Controller. Then Radio Times could put a Tom Hiddleston wall chart on our cover. With stickers. Maybe, if we’re really lucky, while you’re all enjoying the football, once we’ve watched our box set of the first series of Broadchurch yet again – hunting for clues we might have missed the s econd and third time around – we might alight on a film about a widowed dad finding love again with his button-nosed daughter’s first-grade teacher. Or perhaps a documentary about sick kiddies.


Or – and here’s hoping – we’ll discover a made-for-television movie about a woman who donates her brain to science then opens a cupcake factory. I should be able to knit a dolly toilet-roll cover in the time it takes me to watch that, and have time left over to plan setting up a hospital that gives cupcakes to sick kiddies whose dads have been widowed. Actually, there isn’t even any of this tat on offer. Nope, nothing, so we can’t take refuge in Television Lady World, even in an ironic way. But, please, you enjoy your football, all of it, even the teams you have no emotional investment in. I’m sure watching them is fascinating. And I’ll have my little moan, because you have all the time in the world and no understanding of people who don’t share your love of football (but who know when they’re beaten), even though you can be quite rude about them. The schedules are yours, have fun.