Belfast Telegraph

Billy Weir on the Box: Beware the perils and pitfalls of dreaded red button

By Billy Weir

You find before you a man who is without doubt cute and cuddly but confused and considerably consternated after a cornucopia of chaotic channel-hopping on Sunday.

It seemed to be easy. Press the planner on the Sky+, pick the sporting events I wished to peruse at my leisure and then escape up country to be a good child and do my bit for Mother's Day. Seems only fair, as she has been, well, like a mother to me.

Duty done and it was back home, and I never did get one of the coffee creams I took her, but I was safe in the knowledge that I had the tennis and cycling to chew on instead.

It was the deciding day in the Davis Cup, Japan visiting the Murrays, and a typically unbiased and unblinkered approach from the BBC desperate to avoid an early Brexit.

"Nishikori sometimes gets thumped by Andy Murray and everyone in here will hope that happens again but I'm a bit trepidatious about what could happen today. We'll see," said commentator Andrew Castle. Or rather we won't.

"Sunday in Birmingham watching this sort of tennis, you've got to absolutely love it, I hope people stick around for this," he added.

Having been caught out before by the BBC, I even took the precaution of recording the programme after just in case we would over-run, so nothing could go wrong, and even if it did, at least I'd have the cycling to fall back on.

Fast forward a few hours and having avoided, in Likely Lads fashion, any sporting news, I sat down to resume my viewing and I wasn't alone.

"It's late at night in Japan, they will be watching this match. It's going to be a happy Mother's Day for either Judy Murray, who I'm sure is here and I'm sure we'll see her or Mrs Nishikori," said Castle, carefully by-passing that he didn't know her first name but then revealing that she is a piano teacher.

A cracking first set ensued, Castle urging us 'don't go away' and then trying to force us away by inviting people to tweet in with Mother's Day messages, including one from someone wishing her mum, Wendy, good luck in her new job on Monday.

Things continued swimmingly, no more mention of Wendy's new job, probably an estate agent or something to do with houses I would wager, but back in Birmingham things had taken a worrying twist as Murray let slip a two-set lead to allow Kei, as Mrs Nishikori knows her wee lad, to hit back.

"There will be those in Japan who went to bed when it went two sets to love thinking their man was probably done," added Castle.

"They were a bit premature in snuggling under the duvet because there will be an awful lot of tennis left to play here."

Only then for a rude interruption as from a futon far, far away Sue Barker's voice appeared from nowhere to tell us 'at this point we are leaving BBC1 but are also welcoming viewers to BBC2 of this Davis Cup tie where we are enjoying an outstanding match'.

And with that we were gone, no longer in Birmingham as the outstanding match was replaced by a man out standing in a field in Nottinghamshire as a crucial episode of Escape To The Country came on.

There was language at this point, I confess, and I watched on to see if Wendy appeared to show people around a house, or even a Castle, but at least I had the cycling.

It was the usual story of British success and the grand finale was going to be the Madison, where Sir Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish formed a dream team.

"This is going to be the final event, it will take about an hour and we will show you all that on the red button," butted in Clare Balding.

"We will show you the beginning of the race on BBC2, we will switch to the red button because the tennis is coming over, so if you want to watch to the completion with no interruptions, you can do so."

No interruptions? I couldn't have been more interrupted had Wendy and Andrew burst into the living room, demanded one of my Wotsits and turned the telly back to Escape To The Country.

I suppose the clues were there really with the Japanese flag basically just a big red button, so in the end what did I learn?

Well, somehow I got to see the end of the tennis, with the Murrays booking a trip to Serbia for the quarter-final, but not before an important job.

"It's Kim's first Mother's Day, it will be nice to see her this evening, I hope to get back for bathtime," revealed Andy as minds boggled and Annabel Croft looked like a rabbit facing an oncoming Toyota driven by Mr Matey (no first name either, not sure if he plays piano).

As for the cycling, no idea, they could still be going round and round for all I know, while in Nottinghamshire there was disappointment as Karen and David didn't find the house they were looking for and in Okinawa a woman called Wendy was showing a Mrs Nishikori round a dentoutekina, must have room for a piano.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph