Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

Billy on the Box: SPOTY the difference - Bradley Wiggins has a personality

Winner of Sports Personality of the Year 2012, Bradley Wiggins kisses the trophy during the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards 2012 at ExCeL Arena, London

Just when you thought you’d witnessed a once in a lifetime moment during the Olympics when a posh, white-haired, octogenarian lady hovered above a venue in east London accompanied by a dashing man in a suit, along came another one on Sunday evening.



This time the Queen’s part in the helicopter was taken by Sue Barker and the fourth-best Bond’s role was filled by Gary ‘010 — licensed to play snooker with Willie Thorne’ Lineker as we took to the skies for the Sports Personality of the Year 2012. Or, to put it another way, here’s a look at all the Beeb’s coverage of the Olympics.

A natty new outfit and a fresh coat of Ronseal applied for the evening, this was a glamour night for Sue and co as we returned to the Excel Arena and 16,000 people all there with one thing in mind — would Bradley Wiggins swear and make the colour drain even from Ms Barker’s rosewood cheeks?

Sue told us this was ‘the 59th year of the awards and by far the biggest show of its history’ and to prove it the 58th winner, Mark Cavendish, a man with the personality of an un-used cotton bud, brought the trophy on along with a completely random sample of the best that the Armed Forces can provide and how lucky it was that they complied with the Beeb’s politically correct outlook on life.

Wiggo the MOD (as opposed to the MoD) does not comply to that, he is the spokesman (pun intended) for a new generation and as such it was fitting that Phil Daniels provided the voiceover for a look back on his annus memorablis. No sign of the lovely Debbie McGee though…

Can I just point out though that Wiggo is not actually Paul Weller. He looks a bit like him but he isn’t the lead singer of The Jam as Phil pointed out it was a year of yellow and gold for Brad. Nor is he Chris Martin or Tony Hadley.

Once the video stopped, Wiggo was invited onto the stage and the maverick Mod lifted the trophy. If they’d just let him walk off at that point it would have saved us all a couple of hours but thankfully it gave him more time to take the hand out of Sue.

“Now look, Susan, it was amazing,” he began, as Sue shuffled nervously in her sandals. “So many people played a part in this sporting year and I don’t say that to brown nose everybody.” Panic buttons were now being reached for behind the scenes.

“We’re a team, including Gary Lineker with the make-up he wears, he’s got an incredible team behind him,” as Susan giggled like a schoolgirl.

Fast forward two hours and he would be back to pick up the trophy for real but in between times it was good-natured banter all the way and a cursory look at sports that the Beeb don’t have the rights for and that were clearly not at the Olympics.

Among the highlights, the audience doing ‘The Poznan’ as Gary invited Vincent Kompany and Sergio Aguero onto the stage for no other reason than to show he can still speak Spanish and Andy Murray appearing with a partially covered T-shirt that looked like it said ‘Andy is a …’ Answers on a postcard.

Katherine Grainger, the woman who finally won a rowing gold, was told by Clare Balding that she had shown the determination of Robert Bruce, although minus the ‘beard and the cave’ the oarswomen pointed out as we all tried to remember who sat behind her in the boat.

She was there, Anna Watkins is her name, and in a lovely red dress but not the loveliest red dress wearer of the evening as that award went to Jessica Ennis who is destined to be nominated every year no matter what she does because she’s lovely.

In the final reckoning she came second, somehow edging out the vastly superior achievement of Mo Farah, who couldn’t even manage third which went to Andy and the surreal moment of the night as ‘his good friend Lennox Lewis’ didn’t say a word or present him with the trophy in Miami.

Back in London, Wiggo was the rightful winner, joined on stage by royalty in the shape of King David Beckham and some woman in a green dress who knows Pippa Middleton apparently.

“We’ve had all that jungle stuff and X Factor in the last couple of weeks so for people to pick up the phone and pay £1.50 thanks very much,” he began.

“And as for my Nan, the cheque’s in the post because you pressed redial God knows how many times.”

And that’s why he won, finally, a Sports Personality of the Year with a personality and he did it wearing yellow, not red.

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