Review: Cool-headed Laura Woods keeps Roy Keane under control to emerge as the star of this 'unusual' World Cup
You may not have noticed, but over in the middle of a desert there’s a World Cup going on and the television has gone a bit mad.
This may be the first World Cup held in the November, and in the Middle East, and with the stadiums all within a Harry Maguire headed clearance of each other, but the two UK free-to-air broadcasters haven’t changed the way they do things.
There are still the ex-pro pundits, the odd foreign import, the open-necked shirt golf club bar vibe.
However, you may have spotted some subtle differences between the two channels. ITV, for example, seem to have forgotten some chairs, so some of their presentation is done standing up round a horseshoe table. The BBC, meanwhile, are cosily ensconced in a studio, seats for everyone.
Neither channel has shied away from the unpleasant taste this tournament leaves in the mouth, with the BBC foregoing the opening ceremony for a backgrounder on the cost – in all senses of the word – of FIFA staging the World Cup in Qatar.
Over on ITV, meanwhile, Roy Keane has emerged from whichever cabin in the woods he has been hiding and seems volcanically angry about finding himself in Doha. He has been forthright in condemning the decision, and Graeme Souness takes delight in winding him up and watching him fly.
Laura Woods – which will come as no surprise if you watch The NFL Show – handles the sparks well and is the stand-out star of the show.
Unfortunately, you can’t help but feel that FIFA, however much condemnation they get, will see this whole exercise as a success – after all, we’re watching, aren’t we?
Jews Don’t Count (Channel 4, Mon, 9pm) was a timely polemic from David Baddiel as anti-semitism is on the rise. Baddiel asked why, when we are so sensitive to discrimination against minorities, does anti-Jewish sentiment go unnoticed? He might not have come up with any answers, but this was a thought-provoking watch.
Andor (Disney+) came to a finale this week, tying up a few loose ends but leaving enough unresolved for a second series. Which, after the disappointing Star Wars spin-offs we’ve seen might not seem a good thing, but Andor has been a low-key, emotional series with a human heart at its centre.