Partisanship in commentary

Italians are wonderfully, unashamedly biased when commentating…but not often, to my knowledge, are they on the side of England. Ben Hammersley has an interesting tale of watching yesterday’s Rugby World Cup Final in Italy.

I watched it on Sky Sport Italia, here in Italy, with the Italian commentary on and, bloody hell, were they biased. It was quite possibly the most partisan commentary I’ve heard on TV: the two commentators so blatantly, outrageously, violently pro-England that even I, a Natural Born Englishman of the first order, was getting a bit Steady-On-Chaps about it. Commentators just aren’t supposed to use the “We” form of any verb, and at times you got the feeling they were a hair away from screaming “take him down! take him doooooowwwwn!” like it was the arrival of the Oliphants in the Return of the King.

As far as I know there’s no particular dislike of South Africa here, so I’m guessing it was a hemisphere thing, with the Italian’s defaulting to supporting the North. Still, as the clock ticked down and it became obvious that England weren’t go to pull one out of the bag, it was greatly comforting to share the disappointment with the two very gutted sounding commentators. That, and seeing Prince William swear very loudly when the try was disallowed, almost made up for the whole thing.

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