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Saturday 4 July 2015

Platell Snarks Too Soon

Phoning that column in early has its hazards: the British comedy film Only Two Can Play featured a scene where the lead character, who was supposed to be reviewing a local theatre’s new production, leaves early and submits a cod review for his newspaper column, assuming that nobody will be bothered, or able to tell the difference from the real thing. There is then an accident with the props and the theatre burns down.
Viewers may want to look away now

With the Daily Mail’s Glenda emeritus Amanda Platell, her problem has been not fire but Heather Watson. Headlined “Lionesses who put the divas of tennis to shameshe tells of the England women’s football team: “On Wednesday, I did something I almost never do. I stayed up late to watch a football match. Around 2.4 million Brits did the same … cheering on the England Women’s World Cup team in their semi-final with Japan”.

There was more: “It wasn’t patriotism in my case, but curiosity … Like many, I was cynical. How could a bunch of girls [!], most of whom have day jobs and are semi-professional, play with speed and finesse? How could they ever compare with the men’s game? Like millions of sceptics, I was proved wrong … I was heartbroken when defender Laura Bassett scored an own goal in the final minutes”. And the moral of this particular story?

The highest paid woman in the team earns £65,000 a year - around a fifth of what England captain Wayne Rooney gets in one week … Yet the girls [!] insist on an equal playing field with the men: literally. The same size pitch, the same 90 minutes, the same rules”. Yes? Yes yes? Yes yes yes? “Which is a welcome change from the prima donnas at Wimbledon this week”. It is? Do tell.

Unlike the Lionesses, the women get the same prize money as the men, even though they play only the best of three sets to the men’s five … Reigning champion Petra Kvitova’s first-round match lasted just 36 minutes, while the men’s games lasted two hours or more … And in the heat, the girls are allowed to take a break during their matches, but the men aren’t. I had a hot flush of anger just hearing that”.

Many viewers may indeed have tuned in to see the England women’s football team in midweek, but, probably after Ms Platell sent her column in the direction of Northcliffe House, rather more were glued to the screen yesterday afternoon as unfancied Briton Heather Watson took on top seed Serena Williams in a third round women’s singles match. At Wimbledon. On the Centre Court.

Ms Watson took the 20-time Grand Slam single title winner well into a third set. She worked bloody hard. She won plaudits from current and former players, coaches and commentators. And how long did the match last? Rather longer than 36 minutes - well over that two hour figure that Ms Platell suggests is acceptable for a tennis match. So when many Daily Mail readers read the Platell column, they might have a hot flush of anger too.

Anger at comfortably remunerated pundits phoning their copy in early, that is.


Stephen said...

She probably judges books by their weight as well.

rob said...

She's probably jealous that women tennis players earn so much more than a poor journalist who possibly has to stretch her mental capacity to the full to write in about five minutes a column that suits her editor in chief. While the tennis player has to go back into training and special diet in preparation for her next tournament. It's a hard life being a journalist - so we are often told.

Well done the English Women's Football team - third place no mean feet.

Crispin Fisher said...

It looks like the Mail are now trying to hide the article away. Despite the article being posted in the early hours of Saturday morning the top rated comment only has 160 likes this would suggest that not many people have read the article during the day and it is no longer listed in the columnist section of the web site.