Phil 'N Paul Bingo

by ray silvester   July 25, 2014  

Further on from Ghedebrav's idea to spot the stupid sayings of ITV commentators Paul Sherwen and Phil Liggett i wonder how many of these they can knock off today?

My famous formula of 1 min per 10k

Nesting Vultures

My old team La redoute

The big Queenslander

Cav's old Leadout man

Since the days of Pulidor and Anquetil

He was a great mountain biker

Fuglsang's bandages

Flag of Wales flying for Geraint Thomas

feel free to add your own!!

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cavasta wrote:
And from the last stage into Paris:

"As they ride past the tomb of the unknown shoulder.")

I nearly pished myself with that one.

All Campag

posted by Flying Scot [676 posts]
27th July 2014 - 22:43

1 Like

I should start by saying I don't like ripping into Phil & Paul; they are the historic sound of cycling commentary for me; Channel 4 and all that. But they do actually get worse every year. The misidentification and mispronunciation (among the other factual errors they make) is just ridiculous now. As pointed out above, they get weirdly excited at very minor incidents, plus I think we can all now see through Sherwen's tactic of naming about twenty-five 'favourites' for every sprint stage to mask his general disinterest and lack of knowledge.

Sports commentary is a tough job. Commentators (especially I think in football) get too much criticism. But it's reached the stage now where I legitimately believe that, with a bit of practice, I could do a better job than Phil Liggett. Certainly I seem to have a better grasp of basic facts about the race and rider identification than he does. And the fact that he makes Kirby - the Jonathan Pearce of cycling - sound like a master of understated linguistic poise, accuracy and proportional response - says it all.

Your ideal combo would probably be Hatch and Backstedt. I like Simon Brotherton too, but Rob Hatch is the gold standard for cycling commentary right now. Backstedt has been rightly praised for the quality of his analysis, his ability to correctly identify riders (still much harder than it should be for a TV sport, therefore an essential quality in a commentary team) and of course has pedigree as a winner.

Saying that, I do think Hatch & Kelly have developed a nice chemistry and complement each other well. Let's not forget that, for all the fun we can have with his speech patterns, Kelly was a pretty great cyclist and - like the proverbial stopped clock - does sometimes provide the real pithy insight only a champion can offer.

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posted by Ghedebrav [1103 posts]
28th July 2014 - 7:52

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'The Murray Walker' team of cycling! I just can't stand Carlton Kirby, so ITV4 was my spot for watching the tour...

Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth.

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posted by jmaccelari [173 posts]
28th July 2014 - 8:29

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It's a shame for ITV because Imlach and Boardman(plus regular little cameo's from Millar and Jensie) is a good studio team.

posted by ray silvester [1858 posts]
28th July 2014 - 9:11

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This years Tour de France was a great race, without the normal boring ridealong stages that we sometimes get from time to time... and yet the commentary just lacked the same class... they commentate off the same pictures that we see and at times its laughable... Carlton Kirkby should be put out to pasture with the cow that Sean Kelly once won in a race.... I know that fact because so far the repetitive Carlton has told me 1,523 times.... As for Sean, well it just goes to say that great bike riders do not always make great commentators.....

Im not saying that its easy, I just think that it could be done much better.... As for the ITV4 commentary, well I am not even going to comment....

Cycling is gathering more fans all the time, and the TV channels need to up their game and keep up with the pace....

The G Fan Club...

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posted by STEVESPRO 79 [507 posts]
28th July 2014 - 10:25

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Agree that it is a difficult job. I forgive Phil Ligget most things, but Sherwen often provokes a "FFS shut up Paul" from me.

Ned has released Chris Boardman from his wooden style - a good duo which will surely get better.

posted by BikeBud [116 posts]
28th July 2014 - 11:51

2 Likes

They don't really work for ITV 4, their stream is farmed out across a number of anglophone markets. I expect it's cheaper for ITV (or rather the production company, who have been doing the job since the Channel 4 days) to buy that in rather than set up their own dedicated guys, as Eurosport do (which incidentally also makes ES more appealing to those of us who 'second screen' as they can field questions from Twitter etc. during quieter moments).

But who knows - ITV have a slow-burning winner on their hands in their cycling coverage; perhaps they'll be tempted to give them another shoestring to improve the production?

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posted by Ghedebrav [1103 posts]
29th July 2014 - 20:57

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The one is hate is when Phil starts talking about GC contenders as 'heads of State'. Which State's are these Phil? They're bloody trade teams you numpty. I'll never forgive Phil for his pro-Armstrong positioning. It was almost enough for me to turn my back on cycling.

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1200 posts]
30th July 2014 - 7:05

2 Likes

ray silvester wrote:
It's a shame for ITV because Imlach and Boardman(plus regular little cameo's from Millar and Jensie) is a good studio team.

I know what you mean, there's a distinct difference in quality between the likes of Ned, Gary, CB etc, and the actual commentary feed.

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3471 posts]
30th July 2014 - 7:40

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Colin Peyresourde wrote:
The one is hate is when Phil starts talking about GC contenders as 'heads of State'. Which State's are these Phil? They're bloody trade teams you numpty. I'll never forgive Phil for his pro-Armstrong positioning. It was almost enough for me to turn my back on cycling.

Regardless of his personal relationship with Armstrong and his private views, (which he is absolutely entitled to have) it was pretty stupid of him to air them publicly. Not only because should he remain neutral as the race commentator, but also because his opinions suggest either one of:

a) he was lying as part of Lance's cover-up

or

b) he believed that Lance was clean. Fine, except how anyone could believe that ANY cyclist was/is clean *beyond reasonable doubt* at that time - especially someone making a living from talking about the sport! - and talk stridently in pubic about it shows an extraordinary level of naivety.

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posted by Ghedebrav [1103 posts]
30th July 2014 - 8:08

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I should add that although though that it's hard to talk constantly on cycling, as often nowt is happening, and I couldn't do better than any of them, in fact the mistakes and catchphrases add to the interest!

Any thoughts on Brian Smith? who was of course a Lance Armstrong team mate....and walked away, he is pretty good, I also like Sean Kelly, but his accent can make it hard listening at times.

All Campag

posted by Flying Scot [676 posts]
30th July 2014 - 8:24

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Colin Peyresourde wrote:
The one is hate is when Phil starts talking about GC contenders as 'heads of State'.

'Heads of state' aka 'a very select group'.

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posted by cavasta [214 posts]
30th July 2014 - 9:25

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I only discovered this on stage 19 but there is a channel with great commentary. Two good commentators with a current cyclist on hand to offer opinion, they were pretty good at identifying riders and telling you what was going on. Their understanding of the race was good and they didn't get too over excited. Pronunciation of rider names was so-so, but excusable considering.
S4C My new home of cycling.

posted by technojim [32 posts]
30th July 2014 - 23:07

2 Likes

cavasta wrote:
Colin Peyresourde wrote:
The one is hate is when Phil starts talking about GC contenders as 'heads of State'.

'Heads of state' aka 'a very select group'.

Oh really? How can I of missed the obvious bloody comparison?!?....he only makes it 5 times a stage.

Wait, did I forget to thank you for pointing that out to me.....well, thanks.

It's a tedious, over worn expression he loves to pull out and I hate. He could talk about the 'elite', 'the cream of the crop', 'the riding excellence'.....anything but that hackeyed phrase he pulls out. It's tiresome. And I think you've missed the point of the post.

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1200 posts]
30th July 2014 - 23:29

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I really like Kirby, he is far more entertaining than Rob Hatch or P&P. To call him the Jonathan Pearce of cycling is a little unfair. He obviously loves the sport, he is witty, he is entertaining and with Kelly next to him they work well together.

I admit he is prone to the odd mistaken rider gaffe but it's not that easy to tell sometimes. I remember in particular the Tour of Turkey when the Yates who wasn't involved won the stage despite a few subtle reminders.

posted by Joelsim [1452 posts]
31st July 2014 - 9:26

1 Like

Colin Peyresourde wrote:
cavasta wrote:
Colin Peyresourde wrote:
The one is hate is when Phil starts talking about GC contenders as 'heads of State'.

'Heads of state' aka 'a very select group'.

Oh really? How can I of missed the obvious bloody comparison?!?....he only makes it 5 times a stage.

Wait, did I forget to thank you for pointing that out to me.....well, thanks.

It's a tedious, over worn expression he loves to pull out and I hate. He could talk about the 'elite', 'the cream of the crop', 'the riding excellence'.....anything but that hackeyed phrase he pulls out. It's tiresome. And I think you've missed the point of the post.

Jeez, mate, lighten up. What's wrong with you? Like you, I used a tedious, over-worn expression ('a very select group') to contribute to this light-hearted thread about Liggett and Sherwen cliches (note: light-hearted). The pair of them are always banging on about GC riders and stage leaders being 'a very select group'. This cliche is also used with depressing regularity to describe the so-called 'heads of state'.

cavasta's picture

posted by cavasta [214 posts]
1st August 2014 - 10:26

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I've noticed on Twitter that a lot of people's dislike of Kelly stems from his accent, particularly from Americans. Which is very odd given that so many of them nearly tear their own legs off to claim Irish heritage. The oddest thing I read was someone slagging him off for calling himself Sean as opposed to John!

I quite like his accent.

posted by farrell [1580 posts]
1st August 2014 - 10:33

2 Likes

Sherwen: "front 'end' (back 'end') of the main field"

I counted 1,312 in the time I watched. What's wrong with simply "front of the main field/peloton"?

Liggett: "maillot jorne" . You'd have thought he would have spent enough time in France to know how to pronounce jaune. [See also Tommy Voyckler and countless others]

Best commentary/summarising I've heard recently is from Matt Stephens.

Time for a changing of the guard, methinks.

ColT's picture

posted by ColT [225 posts]
1st August 2014 - 10:55

2 Likes

Having listened to the Telegraph's Cycling Podcast all TdF I can wholeheartedly say that this for me was the best coverage of the race. Combine those guys with the GCN chaps and I reckon you would have a great audio backdrop, even on the slow days.

The current commentating heads of state have done a fantastic job of work, but the elastic is being stretched and it could snap at any minute. They've been tapping out a rhythm these last few years when they should have been on the rivet.

(A little bit of sick just popped into my mouth)

posted by Hoester [65 posts]
1st August 2014 - 11:23

4 Likes

Phil mentioned that a particular rider (can't remember which one) was:

'the oldest 22 year old in the race'......

posted by scholly9 [6 posts]
1st August 2014 - 12:03

2 Likes

I like the fact Carlton Kirby gets so caught up in the racing, especially the heroics. He burst into tears during RVV when Stijn Devolder crashed for the third time and still got up to chase down the bunch. Similarly, Tony Martin on stage 6 of the Vuelta when he solo TT'd the full length and lost by 3 metres. Kelly, Backstedt and Smith are all excellent tempers to his excitement and it's a good balance.

That said, I'll watch ES for the live stage but ITV4 for the highlights (and only for Imlach, Boulto and Boardman)

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posted by Swami Dave [51 posts]
1st August 2014 - 13:40

1 Like

You know, I 'd absolutely love to hear Michael Smiley doing a spot of commentating/punditry.

If any TV types are browsing the site, get on the phone and make it happen.

posted by farrell [1580 posts]
1st August 2014 - 14:30

0 Likes

Like it or not, Phil and Paul are still THE voice(s) of cycling. For all their faults. Carlton is flying by the seat of his pants and relying on his 'world of pain' whimsy to disguise the fact he doesn't really know what's going on. Sean Kelly's droning drives any sane man to switch back to ITV4. As do Rob Hatch's ridiculous over-pronouciations. Or that French presenter clown on Eurosport with the red trousers boring us senseless with those Greg Lemond chats. Did Greg say anything remotely perceptive or insightful over the whole TDF? No, I didn't hear it either. Boardman, Imlach and Boulting wipe the floor with Eurosport. Case closed.

posted by korblimey [17 posts]
1st August 2014 - 14:46

1 Like

korblimey wrote:
Like it or not, Phil and Paul are still THE voice(s) of cycling. For all their faults. Carlton is flying by the seat of his pants and relying on his 'world of pain' whimsy to disguise the fact he doesn't really know what's going on. Sean Kelly's droning drives any sane man to switch back to ITV4. As do Rob Hatch's ridiculous over-pronouciations. Or that French presenter clown on Eurosport with the red trousers boring us senseless with those Greg Lemond chats. Did Greg say anything remotely perceptive or insightful over the whole TDF? No, I didn't hear it either. Boardman, Imlach and Boulting wipe the floor with Eurosport. Case closed.

Woah, woah, woah, it might be Friday afternoon but there's no need to start getting lairy.

Now you just take back your negativity towards Stefano Bernabino and his lovely collection of trousers!

posted by farrell [1580 posts]
1st August 2014 - 14:54

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farrell wrote:
korblimey wrote:
Like it or not, Phil and Paul are still THE voice(s) of cycling. For all their faults. Carlton is flying by the seat of his pants and relying on his 'world of pain' whimsy to disguise the fact he doesn't really know what's going on. Sean Kelly's droning drives any sane man to switch back to ITV4. As do Rob Hatch's ridiculous over-pronouciations. Or that French presenter clown on Eurosport with the red trousers boring us senseless with those Greg Lemond chats. Did Greg say anything remotely perceptive or insightful over the whole TDF? No, I didn't hear it either. Boardman, Imlach and Boulting wipe the floor with Eurosport. Case closed.

Woah, woah, woah, it might be Friday afternoon but there's no need to start getting lairy.

Now you just take back your negativity towards Stefano Bernabino and his lovely collection of trousers!


and then bring back Harmon, put Kirby back in the backroom, and shoot Liggwen.

posted by simon F [994 posts]
1st August 2014 - 21:38

1 Like

farrell wrote:
The oddest thing I read was someone slagging him off for calling himself Sean as opposed to John!

His real name IS John Kelly. He was given Sean as a nickname to differentiate him from his dad who is/was also John Kelly.

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posted by Him Up North [238 posts]
1st August 2014 - 22:56

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Him Up North wrote:
farrell wrote:
The oddest thing I read was someone slagging him off for calling himself Sean as opposed to John!

His real name IS John Kelly. He was given Sean as a nickname to differentiate him from his dad who is/was also John Kelly.

Given the Irish ancestry and that Seán is the equivalent (cognate) of John in English (and often pronounced very similarly) I'm surprised they're not both called Seán.

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posted by fukawitribe [539 posts]
1st August 2014 - 23:28

1 Like

cavasta wrote:
Jeez, mate, lighten up. What's wrong with you? Like you, I used a tedious, over-worn expression ('a very select group') to contribute to this light-hearted thread about Liggett and Sherwen cliches (note: light-hearted). The pair of them are always banging on about GC riders and stage leaders being 'a very select group'. This cliche is also used with depressing regularity to describe the so-called 'heads of state'.

You'll have to forgive me then as it reads like you are explaining to me what they mean.

My wife knows 'Little Tommy Voeckler' and that he 'turns himself inside out'. Makes him sound like a bloody sea slug btw. And the 'Jens Voigt' is a popular man in the peloton, and that he has 'shut up legs' written on his cross bar......because Leggwin say it twelve times a stage.

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1200 posts]
2nd August 2014 - 0:03

1 Like

Can it be as bad as some of the written press(when you thought mistakes were more easily caught)......this from the Daily Express

'Aussie Ron Dennis was ahead at the last checkpoint but Dowsett overhauled him in the last segment to take Commonwealth gold'....not bad to overhaul the McLaren F1 supremo!!

posted by ray silvester [1858 posts]
2nd August 2014 - 8:58

2 Likes

Quote:
My wife knows 'Little Tommy Voeckler' and that he 'turns himself inside out'. Makes him sound like a bloody sea slug btw. And the 'Jens Voigt' is a popular man in the peloton, and that he has 'shut up legs' written on his cross bar......because Leggwin say it twelve times a stage.

Many years ago as a kid watching the half hour highlights on Channel 4...
Even my mother knew that Mario Cippolini was called 'The Lion King' because Phil said it every bloody time.
My mother is only just aware that the Tour exists but after a week of it being on in the background she knew every nickname!

I'm convinced that Phil and Paul have a list of all the riders along with an adjective:
"big" (Magnus Backstedt)
"little" (Thomas Voeckler, Bryan Coquard)
"popular" (Jens Voight)
etc
Their age (so they can repeat ad nauseam that such-and-such is "only 22 years of age" or conversely "nearly 40 years of age")
Their nationality (so that every time they see a flag of that nation they can say "the [country] flag there flying for [rider]")

It's just filler - they're contributing nothing useful in terms of information, they just feel the need to talk cos they're there and they'll fill any empty space with the same old clichéd rubbish.

Although I think alongside that list, Paul must have a list of every significant building on the race route supplied to him by the French Tourist Board
"And look here Phil, this is the Chateau de Saint Marie which was built in 1384 and has magnificent stained glass windows"
[ticks box, collects 50 euros from French Tourist Board]

Shame cos the ITV4 pundit team of Gary Imlach, Chris Boardman and Ned Boulting are genuinely brilliant, the rest of the ITV4 coverage is ruined by Phil & Paul.

I've got Classica San Sebastian on EuroSport at the moment with Brian Smith and Magnus Backstedt and there's some really interesting insights in there - transfer windows, tactics, the nature of the course... Genuine knowledge and interest.

posted by crazy-legs [568 posts]
2nd August 2014 - 14:10

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