Monday, July 12, 2010

2010 World Cup: ITV - Chiles Play

Football. It's all about results.

So the BBC will be busy celebrating their trouncing of ITV in the World Cup final face off between the two channels.

A slightly pyrrhic victory though given the lack of quality at the commercial channel. Much like Celtic beating Tranent Juniors 7-0, it would be unseemly for there to be any gloating.

ITV went into the tournament full of expectation. £6 million had secured the services of Adrian Chiles to revolutionise their football coverage.

Even before the twin disasters of the phantom England goal on ITV HD and Robbie Earle's strange dismissal that was a looking like a dodgy gamble.

Chiles has built his career on a grumpy bloke next door image and an apparent refusal to turn down work.

The very public hissy-fit that helped engineer his transfer meant some of that "ordinary bloke" veneer was lost. In booking their pundits ITV also overlooked that much of the success of Chiles' Match Of The Day Two was dependent on the quality of his guests.

Gareth Southgate seems like a decent chap. But he's the last person you'd want if you needed to provide some spark in a television studio.

Andy Townsend's continuing employment must largely be down to his ability to say so little of any consequence that viewers don't mind ITV cutting to an advert.

Marcel Desailly, who has impressed as a pundit previously, was reduced to being a cheerleader for Africa while Edgar Davids offered little in the way of insight or charm.

All this left Chiles looking cut adrift, even his apparent great gift of channelling the "voice of the fan" failed. Any fan who watches as much football as Chiles must do would surely have developed a more refined understanding of the game.

From the moment he appeared in a questionable skit before the England v USA game Chiles looked like an uncomfortable fraud in his new surroundings.

He left the BBC because Chris Evans was going to replace him on The One Show on a Friday evening. Say what you like about Evans but at least he now realises he was once an uber media twat.

When Chiles resurfaces in a decade filling in for Steve Wright on Radio Two we might surmise that he's made that same journey of self discovery.

Chiles' one saving grace was his new employers unerring ability to cook up failures. As long as he could promise "James Corden next" at the end of his show he looked OK by comparison. But only just.

And a big question remains for ITV: Who in Britain would want to wake up with this man?