In an age during which the overwhelming majority of media output sparkles with a glittery polish unseen in previous years, it’s almost comforting to see a show trip over its shoelaces, falls flat to the ground with its face slapping into a custard pie, stand up again, slip on a banana skin, and staggering around before stepping on a ladder which cracks into its face. To that extent, Channel Five’s venture into the world of football highlights was a success. However, when the only people that are satisfied with an hour and a half of their lives that they won’t be getting back seem to have been aficionados of schadenfreude, then it’s reasonably safe to say that things probably haven’t gone too well, overall.
When taking over a high-profile franchise, there is always a temptation to impose your identity upon a product that doesn’t require further bells or whistles. The BBC’s Football League Show was just about as demure as a football highlights programme as could be realistically possible, these days. Its late broadcast time and what many felt to be an over-emphasis on the Championship were criticisms that were never fully addressed, but at least the BBC seemed to understand that football supporters who will watch the Football League probably want to watch the football. Whether deliberate or subconsciously, the BBC seemed to understand that, at its most basic fundamental level, the Football League is mundane. The life of the Football League club supporter is mundane. We watch the football. We crack unfunny jokes. We grumble. And that’s okay. We need neither bells nor whistles. In its own way, The Football League Show spoke for us.
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