22 February 2009

Sport is a load of TV shows

Here's a heads-up for anyone who can receive BBC Four. The station has a bunch of football programmes in the next few days. Some of them are repeats but are well worth catching again.

On Sunday night/Monday morning at 0050 is Communism and Football which, as the title cunningly implies, is about the effect the eastern bloc regimes had on the game with specific reference to -- if I recall correctly -- the cases of Nikolay Starostin and Eduard Streltsov.

Monday has a terrific line-up. First up is Maradona: In the Hands of the Gods, a film about five freestyle fotballers' quest to meet the great man. The words "freestyle footballers" don't exactly do anything for me; and, inevitably, "[a]long the way they find that it wasn't just Diego they were searching for, but something inside themselves as well", so I'm not too hopeful about this one, but you never know.

And anyway, there are three great shows to follow. Barça - The Inside Story is a behind-the-scenes look at Joan Laporta's first season as president of Barcelona in 2003/4. I can't recall another film that had such access to the higher levels of such a huge club, and it's terrific stuff. We even get to see the beginnings of the rift with Sandro Rosell, the shadow of which still looms.

After that is Gods of Brazil, about the contrasting fortunes of Pelé and Garrincha. It's wonderful, but you probably guessed that. As well as being a compelling story, we get to see some of those wonderful clips of Garrincha in action. Yes, I know you can get that on YouTube, but this time you'll get to see it on an actual television screen for a change. Anyway, if you can, make a special point of watching this one.

Then comes Football and Fascism. This companion to Communism and Football deals with the death of Mathias Sindelar, Italy's hosting of the 1934 World Cup and the tug-of-love custody battle between Barcelona and Real Madrid for Alfredo di Stefano. (Stockard Channing held sway.)*

Just one offering on Tuesday, but it's a good 'un: a documentary about North Korea's exploits at the 1966 World Cup called Football Worlds: The Game of Their Lives. If you somehow find yourself bored by the Champions League action, you could always watch Early Doors at half nine. Nothing to do with football. Just a cracking show, is all.

Finally, to Wednesday. There's Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait, which I haven't seen, but it seems like the kind of thing one should watch at least once. Then there's a couple of other films which are new to me: an episode of the Time Shift series about a week at Swindon Town in 1963, followed by a 1968 Ken Loach television play called The Golden Vision which, according to the Beeb, is "about the relationship between fans and footballers, for which he obtained unprecedented access to one of the top clubs of the era, Everton."

So make sure there is plenty of space of your recording medium of choice. And if you can't get BBC Four -- gee, I'm sorry...

*That one's especially for you, HMHB fans.


Iain 23/2/09 3:59 PM  

A fine, fine post.

I would have completely overlooked these otherwise.

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