COUCH POTATO: When a goal isn’t – but is

France's Karim Benzema celebrates with teammate France's Patrice Evra after scoring his side's first goal on a penalty kick during the group E World Cup soccer match between France and Honduras at the Estadio Beira-Rio in Porto Alegre, Brazil, Sunday, June 15, 2014.  (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)
France's Karim Benzema celebrates with teammate France's Patrice Evra after scoring his side's first goal on a penalty kick during the group E World Cup soccer match between France and Honduras at the Estadio Beira-Rio in Porto Alegre, Brazil, Sunday, June 15, 2014. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)
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WHEN is a goal not a goal but also a goal at the same time?

When BBC1 commentator Jonathan Pearce says so.

Either he was right and Karim Benzema had indeed used quantum mechanics to put France 2-0 up against Honduras while keeping the score at 1-0.

Or, just perhaps, he couldn’t get his head around a simple goal-line technology replay that showed, in terms Pearce can understand, the little round ball thing first not going over the stripy line (no goal), then going over the stripy line (goal).

We’re at the World Cup, in case you hadn’t noticed, where the mix of brilliance and madness on the pitch has been matched by the BBC and ITV off it.

The Beeb’s three-pronged force of Rio Ferdinand, Clarence Seedorf and Thierry Henry is delivering a punditry masterclass, with super-sub Juninho (Spitting Image’s David Steel puppet).

ITV has taken the spoils with the theme tune and pre-recorded footage, but not with window repairs.

Adrian Chiles’s wit is winning the battle of the anchors: “Welcome back to Rio where on Copacabana beach they’re coming to terms with the news Alan Irvine has been appointed head coach of West Bromwich Albion.”

But the BBC wins hands down when it comes to dumb commentary.

Steve Wilson: “This year’s psychic animal is a turtle. He’s taken over from Paul the Octopus which is a good thing. As someone once said, you’ll win nothing with squids.” (Groan.)

Robbie Savage: “I remember 1962, the Battle of Santiago,” 12 years before he was born.

Steve Bower made a pun on the phrase “good to know you” with the surname of Iran’s Reza Ghoochannejhad which, believe me, works even less when spoken.

Phil Neville at least made up for his infamous monotone commentary debut at England v Italy by chuckling the following night: “I loved social media, until about 24 hours ago.”

And Mark Chapman wearing a white silky shirt and huge collar followed Gary Lineker calling him John Travolta with: “Rio, this is the first time in your life you’ve been in the Maracana and just a minute ago you told me you had chills.”

They’re multiplying.

In the studios, though, we’ve had some inevitable clangers.

BBC’s Gianluca Vialli: “I think it’s going to be a draw. I’m not sitting on the fence here.”

ITV’s Patrick Vieira on diving: “We don’t want anyone to sh*t... to cheat on the field.”

Neither’s particularly welcome, to be fair.

Seedorf: “Ghana need some more control in midfield, some more passing, some more pis... pace.”

Which was a pace-poor thing to say.

Anyone would think I’m not watching for the football.

I am. It’s the best World Cup I’ve seen, topping 1982, capped with unforgettable TV moments like the Benzema goal/no goal, which I’m happy to say came with an argument-burying post-match verdict from Thierry Henry.

“At the end of the day it was a goal and if it wasn’t then it wouldn’t have been a goal.”

Try telling Jonathan Pearce that.


Most educational show right now?

C4’s Born In The Wild which taught us female kangaroos have three vaginas and males must fight off rivals even while locked in mating.

Which I assumed only happened in Newcastle.

Koala sex “is always around 42 thrusts”. Handy if they ever need to time an egg.

And: “The porcupine penis has four heads,” thereby breaching the electric Philishave patent.

It was shown in all its glory by wildlife researcher Steve Johnston whose porcupine Buster “masturbates on demand”.

Host Mark Evans: “So, what are you doing with your hand?”

“I’m just giving him something to rub against.”

Your Honour.


This week’s Couch Potato Spuduhates...

England’s inability to cope with an unfit Luis Suarez and a concussed Uruguayan defender.

A Question of Sport making a mockery of the phrase: “Super Saturday.”

Two of the three “England fans” BBC News’ Dan Roan interviewed after the Italy match turning out to be Scots, those famously die-hard Three Lions supporters.

C4 imagining the one thing TV needed was another show about antiques, with The Auction House.

Emma Willis announcing: “Welcome to the first live launch of Big Brother,” on the first live eviction.

And BBC2 taking an hour to answer: “Where Is Flight MH370?” with: “At the bottom of the ocean.” Because I thought it was among the rings of Saturn.


Over now to Royal Ascot where C4 prat-in-a-hat Gok Wan was flattering for Queen and country.

“I have the gorgeous Jane Taylor here, royal milliner. You are gorgeous.”

“I have the gorgeous Tamera Ecclestone here. You look incredible.”

“We had Russ Abbot and his wife, they were both gorgeous. We’ve got the gorgeous Kristina Rihanoff.”

“Donna Air, you look gorgeous. You look incredible. You sound amazing. You are amazing.”

Clare Balding: “It’s fair to say he’s having a fun time.”

Glad someone is.


This week’s Couch Potato Spudulikes...

Last Week Tonight With John Oliver, the sharpest show either side of the pond.

The hopeful finale of BBC2’s I Bought A Rainforest.

Big Brother’s farmyard task.

Gold’s wall-to-wall Porridge weekend, broken only by Seven of One: Prisoner and Escort.

England’s final-over test thriller against Sri Lanka at Lord’s.

Chile’s beautiful, free-flowing football ending Spain’s golden era.

Aldi’s Graham Taylor “Do I not like that” cider advert.

And All Star Mr & Mrs’s Phillip Schofield asking Kimberley Walsh’s partner Justin: “Which of these do you think should not be allowed...?” Keep the options, Schofe. Kimberley Walsh singing.


Gabby Logan to England coach Gary Neville in the England v Italy aftermath: “I’m sure you’ve pored over the tapes from Saturday. What worked and what didn’t?”

His brother’s commentary.


This week’s Ask A Silly Question award goes to...

Royal Ascot’s Gok Wan: “Yesterday I backed four out of six winners. I was running around asking everyone for tips. I don’t know whether it was my charm or whether they were just silly for telling me.”

The latter.


The Dentists narrator, at Manchester’s dental hospital: “Children under five in the North West have the worst teeth in England.”

Ah. Explains why 90 per cent of the Manchester-based Jeremy Kyle Show guests are challenged in the gnashers department.