TV Review: The English Game (2020)

Not even a precious few shots of rippling abs and a cast full of talent can save the mad folly of The English Game, someone stop Julian Fellowes now please

“Lads, football is not complicated”

Who would have thought it? Julian Alexander Kitchener-Fellowes, Baron Fellowes of West Stafford has zero facility for writing Northern working class characters. (Or on this evidence, any characters at all.) Not having watched Downton Abbey in any meaningful way (though I did suffer through the film), I wasn’t prepared for just how cringeworthily bad it would be in his Netflix series The English Game.

I remembered Lucy Mangan’s excoriation of the show in the Guardian just as the first lockdown kicked in but it has taken me this long to get round to watching it myself, despite Netflix constantly flicking it onto my homepage. And there’s actually something quite magisterial in just how jawdroppingly awful the first episode is, even with the changing room scenes that have somehow been screenshotted here. Continue reading “TV Review: The English Game (2020)”

Review: Gypsy Queen, VAULT Festival

“We’re all friends of Dorothy but you’re the cowardly lion”

Rob Ward has form when it comes to examining how homophobia is entrenched in the world of sport. His one-man show Away From Home looked at whether the Premiership might ever be ready for an out gay footballer with intelligence and integrity. But it is to the boxing ring that Ward now turns his attention with his play Gypsy Queen, already an award-nominated success after touring the UK and playing Edinburgh last year.

Dane ‘The Pain’ Sansom is the son of a boxing legend and a pretty nifty boxer himself, ‘Gorgeous’ George O’Connell is a bare-knuckle champion from the traveller community making his first steps into the world of professional boxing. And when George rocks up at the gym owned by Dane’s dad, sparks soon fly as their respective cockiness rubs up against each other, and sure enough, it isn’t too long before you can remove the -iness from that last bit as they get to know each other better in the shower. Continue reading “Review: Gypsy Queen, VAULT Festival”