From Martin Kelner, The Guardian
“Mike Newell, Dave Bassett, Jim Davidson, the late Benny Hill, your boys took one hell of a beating.”
It has been a long hard struggle, what with those plucky Pankhurst girls defying the establishment, risking arrest and imprisonment, Emily Wilding Davison throwing herself in front of the king’s horse in the 1913 Derby, then all the bra-burning in the 70s and feeling obliged to read those Germaine Greer and Marilyn French books. But it has all been worth it.
Finally a woman gets to commentate on a Premiership football match on Match of the Day. All right, it was only Fulham v Blackburn Rovers, but what a triumph for female emancipation as Jacqui Oatley (pictured) got to say things like “Jason Roberts found himself in acres of space there”, “Fulham caught totally square at the back” and “What a crucial goal that could be”, all statements previously thought – and still thought by Dave Bassett and the Daily Mail‘s Steve Curry – impossible to utter without being in possession of a penis.
Whether she wants faint praise or not, though, she was destined to get a little of it on MOTD – you would expect nothing else – when Gary Lineker pointed out that “even the presence of our first female commentator could not inspire Fulham to victory” and the pundit Lee Dixon said, “She did well, though, didn’t she?” to murmured assent.
The view from the rehearsal room, where my local women’s theatre collective is preparing for a new sparse production of The Vagina Monologues, is that only when Jonathan Pearce is patted on the head in this fashion by the panel will any kind of equality have been achieved, and for the time being Dixon and all other men remain potential rapists.
The Vagina Monologues, you may recall, was considered too rude a title to appear on a theatre marquee in Florida so the play was renamed The Hoohaa Monologues, which struck me as an apt way to describe some of the coverage last week previewing Jacqui’s TV debut. She was, after all, merely following in the tradition whereby the six or seven minutes of highlights of one of the Premiership’s less interesting matches are allocated to one of Radio Five Live’s people.
Like most of her predecessors in this slot, Jacqui talked too much. Radio commentators always do when they start in TV, what with dead air being anathema more or less on the radio. The added pressure brought on by the shards of glass as she smashed through the ceiling probably did not help either.
Read the rest of Kelner’s weekly sport on TV column by clicking here.
Check out other comments on Oatley’s performance by clicking here