The East Terrace - For the rugby football enthusiast

Well done BBC, nobody wants to see a lineout or a restart when watching rugby on the television

8cm Will CarlingBy An 8cm Plastic Model of Ex-England Centre Will Carling

Hello, I’m an 8cm plastic model of Ex-England centre Will Carling. I’m not actually the real Will Carling, you know, the one who used to be centre for England. I’m just a plastic reproduction of him.

If, like me, you are an inanimate plastic object and unable to get to a game of rugby in person, you may choose to watch it on the television instead.

The BBC has been showing top-flight rugby for decades, so you think they would have perfected the broadcasting of live rugby.

Their coverage in the 1980s and early 1990s was just what you wanted. All the action was shown without the clutter of meaningless statistics, the irritation of pointless, lengthy replays and with a wonderful lack of ‘atmospheric’ close-ups of the action. In other words, they showed you the game.

Why then has the last few years of rugby coverage on the BBC been so VERY unspiffing?

I watched my first live game of rugby on the BBC of the 2006/07 season last weekend: Cardiff Blues vs London Wasps. Well done BBC. You’ve managed to continue to utterly f*** up the way rugby is covered.

I’m very grateful that you informed us that the Wasps’ pack are 0.3kg heavier per player. That is truly a wonderful thing to know. I’m looking forward to pulling that little gem of information out again in the future when I’m down the pub.

You know what else would be interesting to know about the forwards? How they perform in the bloody lineout.

You know? The lineout? That little thing that restarts the game and plays an ever so small part in the way the game ebbs and flows.

Why is it that twenty years ago when the BBC had less cameras at a match did they manage to show us every lineout in a game? Now, thanks to their ‘creative’ decisions, we only occasionally see them. In its place they often choose to show us close ups of the backs. That’s great. I’m glad the director of their outside broadcasts deems it more important to see a close up of one of the centres than to show us an actual lineout. Good work. You are really earning your pay check there Mr. Outside Broadcast Director.

And, on those special occasions when they choose to allow us to witness a lineout, we tend to get one of their ‘atmospheric shots’ with the camera almost on the shoulder of the hooker. Great. Now I can’t see if the lineout throw is straight, or who actually lifts the jumper or catches the ball. But gosh! With that camera angle I really feel like I’m part of the game. I’d better get my gumshield quickly. What extreme and innovative coverage. Thanks.

Or, when they are not treating us to that ‘extreme’ angle, we get a shot of the lineout from the roof of the bloody stadium. The roof! Great, that really helps me enjoy the game more than ever. I love watching what looks like a bunch of ants running around. Spiffing.

Oh, and then we have the way the BBC covers scrums. It may seem very clever and fancy to the BBC to show a close-up of the ball in the scrum at the number eight’s feet, but I would actually not mind seeing how the scrum is going as a whole unit.

Or, maybe, just maybe, if you don’t mind, getting some perspective of how the backs are lining up or some wider context of the field position of the teams. But at least when you decide to not give us those viewpoints and show a tight close-up of the ball it looks ‘cool’, eh?

Oh, and just a bit of free advice to the BBC: replays of inconsequential moments (all three of them) should be over before the action starts again. Some of us fans have an interest in restarts, drop-outs and set-pieces. Weird, eh?

Here’s a tip, for free, for any of the BBC outside broadcast directors who may come across this article. If you start showing a replay whilst a scrum is being set-up, cutting back to the action when the ball is in the hands of the fly-half may be a little too late? You f****** idiots.

A friend of mine had his pet gerbil die on him the other day. He buried it in the garden. If it will help the BBC, I’ll gladly tell him to dig it up and send it to you to replace your outside broadcasters. Even in its decomposed state (and full of maggots) it could probably do a lot better than most of them.

Anyway, looks like the BBC plans to continue regressing in its live rugby coverage for another season. The glory days of its rugby coverage long behind them. But at least I know the Wasps forwards are 0.3kg heavier on average than the Cardiff forwards. Thanks. Thanks a million.

If you agree with 8cm Will Carling and his views on the BBC rugby coverage, why not let the BBC know as well? Perhaps those of you with contacts can forward on this article to someone of importance in the BBC? Lets get them to give us the coverage we deserve.

Let us know if you do by emailing us at stafford@theeastterrace.com.

All the best.