Belfast Telegraph

Friday 29 August 2014

Billy on the Box: Des Lynam floats like a butterfly as Gary Linekar goes quiet

If you wanted evidence as to the difference between a presenter and a sportsman turned presenter then Des Lynam and Gary Lineker stated their cases this week.

While dishy Des floated like a butterfly back to our screens on ITV4 for the start of his five-part series to mark the 70th birthday of Muhammad Ali, Lineker was left floundering on the canvas on Match of the Day.

“Something’s gone wrong with the autocue now. Which is not really what you want to happen in the middle of a programme,” he spluttered and stared blankly into the abyss before being saved by someone pressing play on the video.

Des would have dealt with it, he’d have casually swayed out of the way of the technological haymaker, with a wee quip or a sarky comment to Alan Hansen, rather than stare blankly at the screen and suddenly shout ‘the commentator is Conor McNamara’ as he disappeared.

Sad that it’s only ITV4 that Des is on, he’s better than that, but we joined him in what appeared to be his living room with Barry McGuigan joining him as we looked back on the life and early times of Cassius Clay.

It was just one of a plethora of pugilistic perambulations down memory lane to celebrate the great man’s birthday, including a David Frost interview with Ali on BBC3 but at times it made for very uncomfortable viewing.

Unlike with Des and Barry, and you half expected to cut back to them sitting in matching dressing gown and slippers as the Clones Cyclone recalled that people hadn’t seen ‘the bumptiousness and braggadocio’ before. I’m surprised the autocue didn’t break down at this point.

There was more to come, Sonny Liston, scrambling around like a former Leicester City striker caught in the TV lights, to get off the floor, but was ‘still discombobulated’.

I couldn’t believe it, Mike Carlson had also used this word on the Beeb’s American Football highlights show on Sunday evening. Typical, you wait years for one discombobulated and suddenly two turn up at once.

Maybe Gary will use it, if someone writes it down for him, but as Mr Liston found out, when the greatest comes to town, it better to move to one side, sonny.

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