Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 December 2014

Billy on the Box: Peter Gabriel lining up a smash hit tour

I’ve just checked the list of forthcoming events at the O2 Arena and fear that there could be much confusion over the coming days.

“The O2 Arena in London welcomes the biggest names in tennis,” Sue Barker told us on BBC2 on Sunday afternoon, but I’m worried as in the secondary auditorium The Circus of Horrors presents A Nightmare Before Christmas is on, so if she takes the wrong turn who knows what might happen.

It’s an unusual venue for tennis’ fifth Major. While we’re on the subject, why do sports with four majors always seem to have the need to find a fifth?

I thought it was only Edwina Currie who was looking to get her hands on another one, but we’ll move swiftly on.

The venue is a bit of a Tory paradise though, predominantly blue but with a dark and foreboding menace about the place — but enough about Mrs Murray — while there were some annoyingly cheerful people in yellow hanging around getting in the way.

It turns out they were fans of Robin Soderling, not Nick Clegg and Vince Cable trying to look important, the Swede taking on Judy’s wee Andy as the ATP Masters’ Finals got underway with a bang. Edwina, get back to your seat.

Scotland’s finest had warmed up for the event by knocking a few balls about with David Cameron in Downing Street but a word of warning, I did something similar when I was at university and in reaching for the rolled-up socks whacked a light bulb with my frying pan. It exploded so loudly I nearly lost my deposit, but I digress.

Talking of unpleasant interruptions, Sue had thankfully been ushered into the main arena and was joined in the Beeb’s studio — a strange combination of a clothes basket and those fancy chocolate boxes with shiny material inside them you never see anymore — by two sickly caramel squares, Andrew Castle and Tim Henman.

Tim’s caption came up as having ‘played in three ATP Tour Finals events’ while Andrew’s said ‘talked about women’s bits on GMTV.’ I may have made that up.

Castle was in optimum ‘oor Andy’ overdrive, saying ‘if Murray was to win this tournament it would be the biggest win of his career’. Indeed. And if Sue Barker had Slazengers she’d be appearing on Jeremy Kyle this week.

But while GMTV may have taken out the man, it’s hard to take the GMTV out of the man as Castle roared into action when former Genesis singer Peter Gabriel popped up.

“Loves his tennis. He once served right into my neck and it really hurt, he was very apologetic and made me tea,” he told us. Shame he hadn’t had a sledgehammer to hand, but what a lovely story as we handed over to Lorraine Kelly with a piece about what’s big in gussets this winter.

The crowd were going berserk, clearly a lot of old Genesis fans in. Did you know Andrew Castle once played with Peter Gabriel?

Andy was even getting caught up in all the excitement of games without frontiers, with a leap across the court and punching the air to get the fans jumping as he celebrated his big time win, showing what can happen if you don’t give up. I know no other Peter Gabriel songs, unless (On Your) Biko counts after Federer’s treatment of him.

The final is scheduled for next Sunday, but don’t worry I’ve checked and Jedward’s gig isn’t until the following day so what a weekend it promises to be if the annoying Celtic duo take centre stage. Andy and Judy or John and Edward, take your pick.

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