CHRISTOPHER STEVENS reviews last night’s TV: Dear BBC snobs


CHRISTOPHER STEVENS reviews last night’s TV: Dear BBC snobs – not all lads with a northern accent are ‘common’

Freddie Flintoff’s Field Of Dreams (BBC1)

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Storyville: On The Morning You Wake (To The End Of The World) (BBC4)

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Cricket is boring, a group of disaffected boys in Lancashire told former England captain and local lad Freddie Flintoff.

It’s slow and elitist — and anyone can see that football is ten times better.

They’ve got a point, despite England’s heroics against India at Edgbaston yesterday. And in the course of a slow, boring hour, Freddie Flintoff’s Field Of Dreams (BBC1) inadvertently proved it.

The show was rooted in snobbery. Though Freddie himself went to a state school in Preston, two-thirds of the last England men’s Ashes team were privately educated. Some of the BBC’s Oxbridge socialists have got wind of this, and set out to demonstrate that even ‘common’ boys can play cricket if given the chance.

Freddie Flintoff went to a state school in Preston but two-thirds of the last England men’s Ashes team were privately educated

Freddie Flintoff went to a state school in Preston but two-thirds of the last England men’s Ashes team were privately educated

The trouble is, the common boys didn’t much want to. They saw straight through the condescending premise and bristled at being labelled ‘underprivileged’.

BBC producers, of course, assume any working-class male with a northern accent must be disadvantaged. But one of the lads, 17-year-old Hemi, chatted to cameras in his bedroom with a widescreen TV and games console on one side, and a top-of-the-range electric piano on the other.

If that’s poverty, I quite fancy it.

Another chap, 15-year-old Sean, came closer to the stereotype, boasting that every Friday night he and his mates went out for a drink — ‘in the park, vodka’.

But Sean was a natural actor and any film fan could tell you exactly what he was doing. It’s called ‘playing up for the cameras’. He predicted cricket would bore him and, guess what, it did! But get him into a drama class and push him in front of an audience, and I guarantee that Sean would shine.

Field Of Dreams is spread over three episodes, though quite how is anyone’s guess. We’ve already spent ten minutes watching the boys bicker as they’re ordered to don cricket whites. Surely there’s no more mileage in seeing groups of novices reading Freddie’s Wikipedia entry and pretending to be shocked that he’s well-known.

If cricket was more interesting, we might see montages of practice sessions, as bowling and batting techniques improved

If cricket was more interesting, we might see montages of practice sessions, as bowling and batting techniques improved. But the only shots that made the edit were woeful swipes and deliveries that were more like baseball pitches.

The fact is that cricket is fairly dull to watch. And even more excruciating to play. If you’re a fielder, you’re just standing around. If you’re waiting to bat, you’re also just standing around. If you’ve batted and you’re out . . . guess what happens.

The people of Hawaii were left standing around for 38 minutes in 2018, after a false alarm of impending nuclear apocalypse went out via phone messages.

Field Of Dreams is spread over three episodes, though quite how is anyone’s guess

Field Of Dreams is spread over three episodes, though quite how is anyone’s guess

A computer animation, using voiceovers from those caught up in the terror, recreated the scare, in Storyville: On The Morning You Wake (To The End Of The World) (BBC4). It was amateurish but oddly cosmic, like a planetarium video. As children readied for school, mobiles pinged with messages saying: ‘Ballistic missile threat inbound. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill.’

No one, of course, had the faintest idea what to do. Some crammed their children into storm drains. One woman paddled her canoe out to sea. Most just looked at the sky and scratched their heads.

The ones I felt most sorry for were the people who called the emergency services. Imagine spending the last 38 minutes of civilisation on hold: ‘Your armageddon is important to us. Your position in the queue is . . . number seven billion and six.’

It would be funny if it wasn’t so horribly plausible.

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