You’re all doing terribly well
- 27 Jun 06, 08:52 PM
MUNICH: An astonishing 8.8m people watched the penalty shoot-out climax of Switzerland v Ukraine on Monday night.
It’s difficult to calculate how many of those were waiting for the News but, if they were, it was good of them to stay tuned and thereby swell our viewing figures.
Like the story my Grandfather used to tell of the Durham miner he knew who wore boots two sizes too small because taking them off gave him pleasure at the end of the working day, so we probably needed an old-fashioned stinker to remind us all of how great a tournament this has been, and will continue to be.
The first half was OK, if cagey, but that gave us room at half-time to amuse ourselves with a sequence of on-and off-pitch kissing that our ever-vigilant VT boys had spotted.
And Leonardo entered the spirit with a very footballerish double-entendre based on the word “Brazilian.” It was live television, so beyond our control, but it amused some very tired production and technical staff behind the scenes here in Germany. With any luck, it was sufficiently cryptic not to be understood by anyone at home who might have been offended.
We also ran a stylish reprise of the England and Portugal games from the night before and an interview with Steve McClaren.
The game shut down completely in the second half, and extra-time meant we had to drop the car advert Britain v Germany pastiche I mentioned yesterday. That piece isn’t time-specific, and will run in a future show, whereas a fantastic edit of David Coleman presenting and commentating on the 1962 “Battle of Santiago” was prompted by the dismal events in the Portugal v Holland match, and really needed to run yesterday.
Fortunately, the highlights programme took it along with a Switzerland v Ukraine closing cut to the Smiths’ “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now.” Amusing though it was, I thought viewers who’d sat through the whole live game, as well as those waiting patiently for the News might not have appreciated the humour at the end of the live game! Somewhere post-midnight on the highlights, though, I think it worked OK.
For the first time in the tournament, I’ve travelled from the studio base in Berlin to our International Broadcast Centre in Munich where the bulk of our videotape editing is being done. I’ve likened myself to young Mr Grace in “Are You Being Served?” tottering onto the shop floor to tell the staff that they’re “all doing terribly well.” In fact, it’s been useful in practical terms; with a two-day gap after the highlights tonight before the next show – Italy v Ukraine on Friday night - it’s been very helpful to discuss pre-made items face-to-face.
The opening, in broad terms, will be Italy, with their history and pedigree, versus recently-independent Ukraine making their first appearance, with Shevchenko as star man. The VT librarians are chasing pictures of the “Orange Revolution”, our International Unit are investigating the possibility of beaming in pictures from the big screen in Kiev’s Independence Square and one of the producers has started compiling a shortlist of Cannavaro and Nesta moments for Alan Hansen to peruse in due course.
We may be on the eve of a first rest day after 19 solid days of football, but BBC Sport will still be ticking over. And some of our colleagues are apparently working on some tennis somewhere.