ITV lives up to previous form and fails to imprint a memorable commentary on the England rugby team's famous victory.
As a product of the state education system, my interest in rugby union has hitherto been entirely cursory. However, as a fan of the grand sporting event, I was of course up with the lark - or two small boys - to watch England's historic victory on Saturday morning.Our televisual memories of this nation's triumphs and disasters are hugely important as part of the collective experience: Red Rum's historic third win at Aintree - legs getting further apart and nose nearer the turf - as Peter O'Sullivan delivered a stirring tribute: "It's hats off and a tremendous reception." I remember the view out of my friend's kitchen window as Gareth Southgate missed his penalty against Germany - Barry Davies' lament of "Oooohhh noooooo!" could not have summed it up better.The commentators shouting themselves hoarse with "Come on, Great Britain" as Steve Redgrave dragged his coxless fours over the Olympic finishing line for his fifth gold.So, it is with some regret that I have to report that ITV's final coverage was far more a Ben Kay fumble than a Jonny Wilkinson drop goal. In fact I would go further and say that legislation needs to be passed which takes any major sporting events away from ITV in the future lest they suffer the same fate. It was not the scant half-hour build-up, or even the lugubrious Jim Rosenthal with his expert panel, all of whom were perfectly acceptable.No, there were two main areas of complaint, first, the commentary. Both John Taylor and Steve Smith were remarkably restrained and indeed helpful, though I had to read the papers the next day to really understand that the penalising of England at the scrum was a southern v northern hemisphere thing. But for those of us who like a momentous occasion they were just too restrained.On the drop goal itself we had an almost anti-climactic "he's got it, it's over... at last, at the fourth attempt, he's done it", and bafflingly following the final whistle: "This has been 100 minutes of a great sporting mix-up." This is why no one remembers ITV's coverage of the 1966 World Cup. Meanwhile, on Radio 5 Live, the titanic Ian Robertson had exhausted the quotes of Shakespeare and Churchill before we got to extra time and at the end of the game the 5 Live commentary box went bonkers, conveying a far more tangible sense of excitement to those of us not in the pub.Worse, though, much worse than ITV's commentary, was the scheduling of adverts. Between England's comfortable lead at half-time and their scraping victory, we did not go back to see our panel of experts once. Instead we had that cretin getting in and out of bed in Piccadilly Circus courtesy of BA. Sky Sports long ago learnt that you don't break match tension in such ways. ITV, short of match practice, have zero finesse in this particular arena.So I am glad it got a large audience and made the most of it, but, next time, please bring back Bill McLaren and his "dancing in the streets of Leicester and Newcastle".