If you live in the UK and are a fan of racing, you’ll certainly know who John McCririk is. The face and voice of horse racing punditry over the years, McCririk’s style, a combination of enthusiastic and pantomime agitation, made him one of the most recognised people in racing.
In later life he tried his hand at other challenges, one of which was memorable appearance on Celebrity Big Brother UK (twice – in 205 and 2010), other included Question Time and the Weakest Link. Not shy of controversy, he started his career in racing as an ‘illegal street bookmaker’, before going legit on course.
An award-winning journalist with the Sporting Life, John joined ITV in 1981 before moving to Channel 4 in 1984 where he remained until 2013. He passed away on Friday, July 5, aged 79 and will be sadly missed by many, including his wife Jenny, who he affectionately called ‘The Booby’.
If you’re UK based and of a certain age, you’re bound to have watched the gameshow Bullseye while growing up, and likely to have chanced upon the satellite TV reruns that are still showing to this very day. The premise was simple, teams of two took part in rounds that involve both general knowledge and darting ability (or lack therefore of). The winning pair of contestants then picked up prizes on ‘Bully’s Prize Board’. These more often than not come across as a combination of hand me downs and stuff you might find in a closing down sale. These prizes can then be put on the line for a shot at the star prize – a prize that’s only revealed upon winning it. To win this, they have to score 101 of more with six darts.
Exciting stuff, right? Sometimes the star prize was a trip to a Caribbean island or something along those lines. Who wouldn’t be chuffed to win that! On other occasions, it was a caravan or car. Again, a nice prize to win, even if you do have to saw it in two, or arm wrestle for it, since there are two contestants.
Beyond those prizes though, we start to stray into territory that is far more bizarre. One of the most frequently featured star prizes was a speed boat. As elated as winners may have been to have won, it does make you wonder how the contestants, some of whom may live on a council estate for instance, got to enjoy their top of the range speed boat in real life. Perhaps they zoomed down the side of a high rise, or did lengths in the local swimming pool. The real sh!t sandwich of a prize though, was a prize I only ever saw offered once.
Take into account that 80s fashions were as dodgy as they get. Notorious for it. Even when people made an effort they looked like they’d crawled out of a bush. And that’s just those featuring in pop videos. The likes of Bullseye contestants certainly don’t appear to have worked themselves into a panic over what to wear for their once in a lifetime appearance on the show. Throw on any old rag, was the order of the day. Keeping that in mind, the most tragic yet hilarious star prize on Bullseye was…… a fashion spree!
Sadness and disbelief spread through wrestling circles on Wednesday as much loved Scottish wrestling star Adrian McCallum, 36, passed away. The sudden death of the talented athlete came the day after the wrestler, nicknamed Lionheart, posted a quote from the Ricky Gervais show Afterlife:
“One day you will eat your last meal. You will smell your last flower, you will hug your friend for the last time. You might not know it’s the last time, that’s why you must do everything you love with passion.”
The wrestler, originally from Coventry, was the Insane Champion Wrestling (ICW) heavyweight champion and had previously appeared on TNT and WWE events. In 2004 he broke his neck in two places but fought a long road to recovery to get back to the sport he loved. He was a veteran of wrestling and was owner of the Ayrshire-based Pro Wrestling Elite organisation. The social media condolences of those who knew him, paint a picture of a kindhearted and ambitious individual. He’ll be sadly missed.
It’s certainly been a lively time of late in the heavyweight boxing division. That’s a very welcome statement to be able to make following on from the seemingly endless boreathon that was the Klitschko brothers years. Over the past couple of months we’ve seen Deontay Wilder retain his undefeated record against Dominic Breazeale, Anthony Joshua come a cropper in shocking fashion against ambitious Medican-American outsider Andy Ruiz jnr, and now Tyson Fury make very fast work on previously undefeated (yet clearly several leagues below) German fighter, Tom Schwarz this past weekend in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Tyson Fury appears to have really been working on his fitness and movement, and indeed despite his fast reflexes here, he actually gained a few pounds for the fight (weighing in at 263lbs). Still, it’s a world away from 2 years ago when he was unfit, approaching 400lbs and in a bad place mentally. It also makes you consider how well a fully fit Fury would do against Wilder, should their much anticipated rematch take place (even a trilogy of fights has been raised as a consideration). Fury certainly impressed in their previous bout, but at the same time he likely still had a degree of ring rust.
Of course boxing is a sport full of surprises and so it’s best not to absolutely count on a bout taking place to begin with. Boxing politics aside, Fury still has to take out another opponent later this year (likely in September 2019, with Jarrell Miller, who was supposed to fight Anthony Joshua before testing positive for a doping agent, a possibility), and Wilder looks set to once again face Luis Ortiz, a fighter he previously experienced some difficulty against. If the stars align though, we may well find ourselves in a long awaited Golden Era of boxing. It sure has been a while. Bring it on!
For now, enjoy this clip of Tyson Fury’s Matrix-like moving and telling strength in his fight against Tom Schwarz: