Thursday, 17 June 2010
... "France will make the quarter-finals." ... "We're always ready to start an autopsy without a body." With his counter-intuitive gambits on the BBC tonight, Danny Baker showed how punditry should be done. Baker was like a speedfreak thrown into a room full of somnambulists, gleefully providing all the controversy Tom English called in for in his blast against anodyne pundits in the Scotsman. It wasn't contrarianism for its own sake, but an intelligence that won't countenance mouthing platitudes even if they're true. Baker might be wrong, but his thought-bombs are always stimulating. Too often, the ITV and BBC panels manage to both state the obvious and be wrong. They extrapolate ploddingly on the basis of received wisdom and/ or what they've just seen, failing either to notice long-term patterns or to contemplate unexpected twists. Robbie Earle getting sacked by ITV is far more interesting than anything he's ever said. The only interesting thing about Alan Shearer is the faint air of suppressed violence that surrounds him: he looks like a squaddie who's just beaten someone to death with a shoe. Andy Townsend inarticulately and over-excitedly voices your own most banal thoughts, ten minutes after you'd dismissed them as too tedious to vocalise: he's like Trevor Brooking, but even more dull. Hansen retains a flinty charisma and a stern authority, but he's stale, lacking any foils.
The lesson: employ those with expertise in talking and thinking as pundits. Any other suggestions for who would make a good pundit?
Posted by Mark at 23:02