[Thursday, 01st] World Wrestling Classics [17:30, Sky Sports 3] is showing WCW shows from 1991 and offering fascinating glimpses of current 'superstars' as they were a dozen years ago. Ron Simmons, for instance, looks much the same as Faarooq of the APA. Stunning Steve Austin, the perpetual TV Champion, was tall, blond and pony-tailed while Stone Cold Steve Austin is now old, wide and bald. And Scott Steiner looked like a normal human being before he became a lumpy 'genetic freak'.
Curse of the Pink Panther (1983) [20:00, Granada Plus] is another attempt to cash in on a popular series of films after Peter Sellars died. Chief Dreyfuss fixes a computer which is picking the world's greatest detective to find the missing Clouseau. Enter Detective Sergeant Clifton Sleigh of the NYPD, the world's greatest, and luckiest, screw-up. Dreyfuss ends up in hospital within seconds of meeting him, lots of action and blunders, and Roger Moore gets to do the Clouseau bogus French accent.
Speed (1994) features Dennis Hopper as a mad, ex-cop bomber who wants $3M, Keanu Reeves as the cop who gets involved with him and Sandra Bullock as a by-stander who has to drive a bus at over 50 mph to stop a bomb going off under it. Lots of bangs and crashes, lots of vehicles totalled by the careering bus, an airliner written off in a massive explosion and a ride on a subway train to finish. Totally daft but fun in a destructive sort of way.
[Friday, 02nd] RAW [21:00, Sky Sports 2] opened with a recap of Mick Foley walking out, Orton ranting, Booker butting in and Mark Henry assaulting Booker. Then Scott Steiner chucked RVD around before doing the decent thing and letting himself be frog-splashed and pinned. The Dudleys took on newcomers Cramer & Simpson with Ric Flair as the dodgy ref. Surprise! We got a shambles. Meanwhile, Vince was telling the WWE board not to give the formerly Stunning Steve Austin his job back.
Orton versus Booker was always going to be a swindle, and it was. Kane strolled out to provide a distraction then he zapped Booker. A 6-women Happy Holiday Match filled in a bit of time. Then Austin told the board, by phone, to take their job and shove it.
How much chance did the Has Been Kid Shawn Michaels have taking on Triple Tedious in his home town? Snowball in Hell, folks. WWE clichés galore. The ref wiped out, of course. Bischoff took over as ref. Then TT got a boot in the mush and he was counted out. But Bisch gave us another swindle. So Michaels laid out Flair and Bisch, and got fired for his trouble. Enter Austin to re-hire Michaels and give him a rematch, and award Bisch a stunner.
[Saturday, 03rd] Live NFL's presentation of Wild Card Saturday [21:30, Sky Sports Xtra] began with the Titans in Baltimore. The Ravens received the kick off and went 3 and out. The Titans advanced quickly into Baltimore territory and McNair ended the drive with a 5 yard TD pass to Brown. 7-0. The Ravens returned the kick off to their 45 but ended up back at the 15 after holding; and went 3 and out again. Demps scored for the home team by intercepting a tipped McNair 2nd down pass and running the ball back 56 yards for a TD. 7-7.
The Titans started their next but one drive at the Baltimore 35, they reached the 18 then Reed intercepted McNair. George dislocated his shoulder tackling Reed at the 29. The Ravens went 3 and out, and on their next drive, Carter sacked Wright on the first play. Then the Ravens got moving, made their first 1st down and Stover kicked a 43 yard FG after the 2 minute warning. 7-10. The Titans went 3 and out and Wright chucked a pass downfield with 1 second left in the first half, and saw it intercepted by Dyson.
George returned in the 3rd quarter with his shoulder strapped up. The Titans went 3 and out but kicked the punt 64 yards to the Ravens' 15. Lewis, J. made 12 yards then Wright scrambled for 19. All for nothing. The Titans got moving again and McNair hurled a TD pass 49 yards to McCareins on a 2nd and 2. 14-10. Lots of work for the punters and McNair was limping early in the 4th quarter. Starting from their 2, the Ravens made two 1st downs then Rolle intercepted Wright and Anderson kicked a 45 yard FG. 17-10. Haynesworth sacked Wright on 1st down and a 35 yard TD pass to Heap reminded the spectators that the Ravens' last scoring drive had also started with a sack. 17-17. A stupid deep pass by McNair on a 2nd and a foot was intercepted by McAlister. The Ravens went 3 and out and 78 Brown gave up a 2nd dumb personal foul penalty. 2:44 left. Anderson kicked a 46 yard FG (just) for a score of 20-17; and that was enough.
In Conclusion: The Titans have lost 5 straight matches to the Ravens, but they broke that streak tonight. Both defences played well but Ray Lewis was unable to dominate Eddie George and when the Titans played sensibly, they scored points.
Over to Charlotte, N. Carolina, eventually, for the Coyboys versus the Panthers. The Cowboys made some progress on their opening drive but punted. Then Smith took a pass 70 yards to the Dallas 1. The defence held up and the Panthers kicked a FG. 0-3. After an exchange of punts, Howard sacked Carter (there's two names that belong together) and Dallas went 3 and out again but their defence held up and the Panthers kicked a 38 yard FG. 0-6. A big pass completion to Galloway got the Cowboys to the Carolina 36.
Hentrick began the 2nd quarter with a rush to the 20. Fight! Then Anderson fumbled at the 11 and the Panthers had the ball. Dallas challenged the fumble ruling but got nowhere. Davis made a 22 yard rush on the way to a punt, which went a lot further than the next Dallas punt, which travelled just 17 yards to midfield. Carolina got another shot at a 3rd down when both teams were called for pass interference, and made the 1st down. A 23 yard TD by Davis finished the drive. 0-13. Galloway made 18 yards for the Cowboys on a 3rd and 10 and Glenn made 21 yards. Jenkins sacked Carter and Cundiff kicked a 37 yard FG after the 2 minute warning. 3-13. Delhomme hurled a huge pass to a wide open Muhammad, who fumbled, went out of bounds a bit and got the ball back at the Dallas 2. Another FG made the score 3-16.
Both teams started the 3rd quarter by going 3 and out. On the next Carolina drive, Delhomme fired passes of 24 yards to Muhammad and 32 yards to Smith for a TD, both against blitzes. 2-23. Lots more work for the punters. Carolina began the 4th quarter at the Dallas 14 and kicked another FG. 3-26. Bates returned the kick off to the Carolina 47. The Cowboys were soon facing a 4th and 1 at the 9; and Carter rushed to the end zone. 10-26. The Panthers went 3 and out but Pepper intercepted Carter on the next Cowboys' drive and returned the ball to the Dallas 11. The Panthers chewed time off the clock before kicking a 34 yard FG. 10-29. 3 minutes left. Long sacked Carter and the Cowboys failed to make a 4th down. And that was it.
In Conclusion: 'Panthers Eat Tuna' according to one fan's sign. It's true! No penalties or turnovers against Carolina and their 5 field goals was an NFL record. Both defences played well, and the Cowboys' resistance was pretty solid in the red zone, but Carolina could put points on the board.
[Sunday, 04th] NFL Sunday [18:00, Sky Sports Xtra] began with the Seahawks in cold & windy Green Bay (29 deg.F). The Packers started, made a 1st down but had to punt. The Seahawks advanced quickly to the Green Bay 9 but had to kick a 30 yard FG. 3-0. Lots of work for the punters. On the Packers' second drive of the 2nd quarter, Favre and Henderson made a big pass play when the Seahawks jumped offside but the Pack were stopped at the 15 and we got an equalizing FG. 3-3. Hasselbeck and Abraham made a big pass play then Barnett ran a 'fumble' back for a TD. Seatle challenged, got an incomplete pass ruling on the play, and went on to kick a FG. 6-3.
Walker took a pass 44 yards to the Seattle 36 and Favre finished the drive with a 23 yard TD pass to Franks. 6-7. Hasselbeck fumbled when sacked on the next Seattle drive but the Seahawks recovered the ball. Then Alexander was tackled for a loss, bringing up a 3rd and 28, then a punt. A big pass to Driver inside the last 2 minutes put the Packers at the Seattle 13. The Pack reached the 10 then the defence stopped them and Longwell kicked a FG. 6-13.
Jackson of Seattle opened the 3rd quarter by taking a pass 25 yards to the Green Bay 29. The Seahawks faced a 4th and goal at the Green Bay 1 after Hutchinson caught a tipped pass: TD Alexander. 13-13. On the next Seahawks drive, Hasselbeck slipped but got off a pass to Robinson, who reached the Green Bay 19. The drive ended with another 1 yard TD run by Alexander. 20-13. The Packers got moving again, they made a 4th and 1 at the Seattle 3 and Green went in on the ground from 1 yard out. 20-20.
The Seahawks went 3 and out, Chatman returned the punt to the Green Bay 49, the Pack made a 4th and 1 at the Seattle 39 and Green made a 2 yard TD run. 20-27. 2:39 left. Engram took the Seahawks to the Green Bay 8, they got another set of downs at the 1 after pass interference in the end zone, and Alexander got another TD. 27-27. With 51 seconds left, the Packers reached the Seattle 30 via a big pass to Walker and Favre spiked the ball to let Longwell try a 47 yard FG. But booting a rock-hard ball on a cold day, he came up short and we were into overtime.
The Seahawks started but the lost the ball on a 3rd down fumble. After a review, the receiver was ruled down before the ball came out, bringing up a 4th and 1. So the Seahawks punted. The Packers' offense couldn't do anything but Harris intercepted Hasselbeck and ran the ball back 52 yards for a TD. 27-33 Packers.
In Conclusion: This match was always too close to call as the Seahawks knew so much about the Packers. Their QB and a whole of others had worked there and Mike Holmgren, head coach at Seattle, has a street named after him in Green Bay after taking the Packers to Super Bowls 31 and 32. Somehow apt that the Packers' defense had the last word.
Over to Indianapolis for the Broncos/Colts match. The Colts gave James a lot to do on their opening drive, which Manning finished with a 31 yard TD pass to Stokley. 0-7. A Portis fumble rolled over the sideline, Denver made a 4th and 1 at the Indy 40 with a QB sneak and Elam kicked a 49 yard FG. 3-7. The Colts reached the Denver 46 then Manning fired a pass to Harrison, who went down, waited, got up untouched and legged it for the end zone while the Broncos' defence were chatting! 3-14.
Denver's next drive blew up in the 2nd quarter after holding. The Colts moved easily to the Broncos' 25 and a TD pass to Harrison extended their lead to 3-21. Denver blew up after a personal foul penalty. Right after the 2 minute warning, Manning hit Stokley with another TD pass of 37 yards. 3-28. Then there was time left for the Colts to stop the Broncos with an interception by Macklin and Vanderjagt to kick a 27 yard FG. 3-31.
Denver's opening drive of the 3rd quarter included a 33 yard pass from Plummer to Smith but holding and a 3rd down sack left the Broncos trying a 46 yard FG, which was blocked. The Colts zoomed back at them and Manning hit Wayne with a 9 yard TD pass. 3-38. There was a mad scramble when Freeley knocked the ball away from Plummer and the Colts came up with it at the Denver 20. The Broncos' D held up and Vanderjagt kicked a 20 yard FG. 3-41.
Plummer was picked again (Macklin) in the 4th quarter, but the Broncos got the ball back at their 19 after James lost the ball. Denver made a 4th and 2 at the Colts' 7 and Plummer tossed a TD pass to Smith. 10-41. An on-side kick try failed. Huard came on as QB for the Colts and there was no more scoring.
In Conclusion: This one was the Colts all the way.
[Monday, 05th] Captain B. Acula and his Enterprise are back. First up, the final episode of Series 2 [The Expanse, 20:00, Sky One] to remind us that Earth has been attacked pre-emptively by the Xindi, who've been told that the Earthers will destroy their planet in 400 years' time. So Enterprise went looking for the bad guys.
Next up, Episode 1 of Series 3 [The Xindi, 21:00, Sky One]. Cap'n Acula did a deal with a mine owner for an introduction to a Xindi. Only the mine owner wanted Enterprise's crew as slave labour and the Xindi was a slippery character. Malcolm and Enterprise's contingent of marines rescued the captain and Tripp, and the Xindi gave the co-ordinates of his home world and the news that the Xindi are 5 species before croaking. But there was just 120 year old rubble at the co-ordinates of the alleged home world.
Cube2: Hypercube (2002) is a sequel to Cube [22:00, Sci-Fi]. A disparate group of people find themselves trapped in a hypercube. All contributed to it and worked for the sinister Izon corporation. They face shifts in time, dimensions and parallel universes, people start getting written off (some more than once), including the blind teenage computer-geek girl who made the hypercube work. And it looks like they were setting up Cube3 at the end.
[Wednesday, 07th] The hunt for WPC Bradford & Brandon's kids continued on The Bill [20:00, ITV 1]. Sgt. Ackland busted a bookie with a bag of cash and he told a tale of borrowing from a loan shark to pay a protection racketeer, who put his daughter in hospital. The bookie knows Inspector Gold from way back. An attempt to set up the protection racketeer went horribly wrong. Then DC Terry showed that the bookie was laundering cash from armed robberies. Meanwhile, Sun Hill's drug dealers are having a turf war and Gabriel told the press Bradford's name and that she's a copper. The bookie scammed £15K from Insp. Gold but he ended up nicked with the protection racketeer.
[Thursday, 08th] The drugs turf war was hotting up on The Bill [20:00, ITV 1]. Stroppy Leo was staying with his aunt, who's one of the main dealers, and Smiffy was trying to get him to help the police. Meanwhile, Bradford and the kids were holed up in Sun Hill nick's boiler room! Leo's kid brother, Wayne, was run down by mistake by one of auntie's gang. An Asian taxi driver gave the police a bum steer on the missing kids because his wife had run off with their kids to escape his violence. Leo got off in court. Auntie was busted big-time. Polly's hopeful about getting out of gaol if she can prove Bradford lied about her. Auntie's bust was cancelled when the 'heroin' that she'd bought turned out to be fake; but she went down for getting Wayne run over. And Bradford was tracked down to the boiler room in the end. Cue a siege next week.
[Friday, 09th] Like M*A*S*H, Tremors on TV [20:00, 21:00, Sci-Fi] contains a survivor from the film cast. The survivalist Burt Gummer is their Radar. The town has a guy with a past, who's running tours, an official government warden for the Chomposaurus, which is an endangered species, and an asso who wants to kill off the creature so he can redevelop the valley. Plus the odd interloper, who gets chomped by the creature. Episode 1 was about a plot by the developer to make the residents of Perfection, Nevada, kill the creature. In Episode 2, hydrophilic bacteria containing MixMaster (a brew which mixes the DNA of species other than humans) was escaping from a mine and the green monster was heading for the water tower in Perfection!
Bischoff handed RAW [22:00, ITV 1] over to Teddy Long, who wanted to be the general manager for a night. So we got a rant in the ring from Long, an interruption by The Idiot Lawler, who was splatted by Orton. The Coach took over Lawler's commentating seat for Rene Dupree versus Spike Dudley, who did a lot of suffering before he sneaked a win. Then Batista and Flair zapped the other Dudleys. Lawler returned to duty as Jericho and Christian took on the Hurricane and Rosey, aided by a ref who turned his back on all the Canadians' cheating.
Test spent as much time chasing Victoria as bashing Stevie Richards, who snuck up on him to score a 3rd win in succession. So Vickie got a big boot in the mush from Test. A rant from Austin, Triple Tedious and the Has Been Kid. Molly had a non-title match with Trash, so we were expecting Trash to win. But no, Jazz strolled in and zapped both of them. Teddy Long handed Mark Henry a steel chair, which he used to splat RVD. Then Long, Henry's manager and GM for the night, made the match no-disqualification and ordered the ref to continue. Enter Austin on a quad-bike to chase Long out of the ring area.
A Van Daminator with a steel chair only made Mark Henry mad but a frog splash saw him off. Then Austin caught up with Long and delivered a Stunner! Jericho had an encounter with Mae Young backstage. Kane did a rant until Booker strolled out for a scrap. Finally, Flair and Orton swindled the Dudleys with the help of the ref and Triple Tedious - after Flair had received a Wazzup! And TT got a big boot in the mush from HBK as a final flourish.
[Saturday, 10th] Kurt Angle wasted some time with the Guerreros to start WWE SmackDown! [21:00, Sky Sports 1] then Chris Benoit had a mini-Royal Rumble with the Wop Patrol. Bullo and Git-Faceo went out, leaving Chuck, who also took a plunge over the top rope. The Bashams launched a sneak attack on Scotty 2 Hotty and Rikishi, so they got the Guerreros for a title match instead. Wall to wall cheatin' with the Bashams doing it better. Then Chavo sat out while Uncle Eddie was dismantled. Then he did a bit of demolition himself.
Cena scored a very unconvincing 'win' over Albert then Mysterio put on an athletic display against yakuza Akio. Both yakuza received a double 619 and Mysterio triumphed. Some Best of Billy Gunn ahead of Tajiri messing about with blind Nidia because Noble didn't turn up until way too late. Finally, Big Show and Hardcore Holly had a street fight - with an excursion by Holly to bash the Gorilla, who was at ringside. A bit of bashing with dustbins then Holly throttled Big Show with a steel chair and the Gorilla ran for it when Holly looked his way.
Meanwhile, over on Sky Sports 3, the score was 7-9 in St Louis with 3 minutes left and the Pathers were at midfield facing about a 1st and 37! They were stopped but Kasay kicked a 45 yard FG. 10-9. Then there was time enough for Peppers to sack Bulger, who clung on to the ball too long and the Rams were booed off at half-time. Bruce took a pass 25 yards during the Rams' opening drive of the 3rd quarter and Wilkins kicked a 51 yard FG. 10-12. Carolina replied with a 52 yarder. 13-12. Harris returned the kick off to the Rams' 40, Holt couldn't hang on to a deep pass at the Carolina 20 and the Rams ended up punting for the first time in the match.
Smith took a pass from Delhomme 20 yards and Kasay kicked a 34 yard FG. 16-12. The Panthers got the ball back by intercepting a deep pass from Bulger and Delome made a 46 yard pass play with Smith. Carolina reached the Rams' 15, Smith was poked in the eye and a face mask penalty put the Panthers at the 7½ yard line, and Hoover hit the end zone for a TD. 23-12. Grant intercepted Bulger's first play, Jackson got a sack on Delhomme and a 53 yard FG try hit the left upright.
Carolina challenged a pass reception at the sideline and had it ruled incomplete. The Rams went for a 4th and 2 at the Panthers' 38 and Faulk took the ball to the 16. And he made the end zone on the 3rd try from the 1. 23-20 after Looker caught a 2-point conversion pass. Wilkins himself ended up with the ball after his on-side kick attempt. The Rams advanced steadily but they wasted 25 seconds, which could have been used to throw a pass to the end zone, and let the clock run down so that a 33 yard FG would tie the scores as the clock ran out. 23-23 and overtime.
The Panthers won the toss, Wiggins took the ball 21 yards and Kasay made a 40 yard FG kick. But he had to try again from 45 yards after a delay of game penalty on the Panthers and 2 plays which failed to gain any ground. Wide right, this time! Bruce took a pass 26 yards to the Carolina 38. Wilkins tried a 53 yard FG but he was short. The Panthers started going backwards. Meanwhile, the Titans kicked off at Foxborough.
Young sacked Delhomme and the Panthers punted. Bulger scrambled for a 1st down then lost yardage when sacked. The drive kept going to the Carolina 38, then Manning wrestled a pass away from Holt and Carolina had the ball. Delhomme was swamped by blitzers on 2nd down and the 1st period of overtime ended. Carolina were at their 31 and a TD by Steve Smith as the 1st play of the 2nd period of overtime gave them the win, 29-23.
In Conclusion: The once mighty Rams spluttered on offense and they couldn't take advantage of their chances. The coaching wasn't up to much, either. A good win for the Panthers.
Meanwhile, in New England, the Patriots had just finished the opening drive with a TD - Brady and Johnson in a 41 yard pass play. 0-7. It was 3 deg.F in Foxborough with a wind-chill factor of -12 deg.F - but no snow. The Titans moved quickly to the New England 4 and Brown rushed in for a TD. 7-7. Out of FG range, the Patriots went for a 4th and 1 at the Titans' 33. Fauria took a pass to the 25 but Vinatieri's 44 yard FG try was no good. Harrison intercepted McNair's first play and the Patriots reached the Tennessee 8 as the quarter ran out.
Brady scrambled for a 1st down at the 3 as the 2nd quarter began. Smith got close to the goal line and hit the end zone on the next play. 7-14. The Titans got close to scoring range then McNair was sacked while scrambling and they punted after 2 delay of game penalties cost them further yardage. On the next Titans' drive, Mason took a pass to the New England 34 but Anderson had a 31 yard FG try blocked after the 2 minute warning.
We never got to see the rest of the match because Sky Sports 3, the useless bloody cowboy bastards, went off the air as the 2nd half was starting! Bloody outrageous!
Memo to Kev & Nick at NFL Sunday, Sky Sports:
What sort of useless bastard cowboy outfit is Sky? And who's the useless bastard who had Sky Sports 3 switched off just as the second half of the Titans-Patriots match was starting? Kindly supply his name and address so I can go round to his house and break all his useless bastard windows. If ever a useless bastard deserved to be nailed to the frozen pitch at Foxborough and left to croak, it's this one.
Disgusted with Sky Sports.
p.s. Be sure to tell your advertisers that I'll be watching the Super Bowl on Channel 5 because I want to be sure of seeing the whole match even if your useless bastard is hovering at the 'off' switch.
[Sunday, 10th] NFL Special [started 10:00, Sky Sports 2] gave highlights of yesterday's matches. By 12:30, they'd reached the end of the 1st quarter of the Titans-Patriots match. The Patriots punted away their first possession of the 3rd quarter. Calico hung on to a 30 yard pass at the sideline as the Titans got on with a shaky drive. An interception by Buschi was wiped out by a false start penalty on the Titans and Mason scored a 12 yard TD by diving over the pylon. 14-14. The Patriots tried some trick plays but Graham fumbled and lost the ball - but the Titans couldn't do anything.
Cut to the 4th quarter, 6:40 left and the Patriots at the Tennessee 40. Faced with a 51 yard FG try, the Patriots went for a 4th and 3 at the Titans' 33 and Vinatieri made a 46 yard FG. 17-14, 4 minutes left. A terrific catch at the sideline by Bennett survived a challenge. McNair rushed for a 1st down and he was limping at the 2 minute warning. He lost 10 yards for intentional grounding. Holding cost the Titans another 10 yards and put them back at their 47. New England were blitzing relentlessly now. Another catch by Bennett survived another review to bring up a 4th and 12, but the next pass bounced up off Bennett's hands and the defenders mugged him before he could make a second attempt at the ball. The End.
In Conclusion: This was a tough match played by 2 tough teams in tough conditions. The Patriots did well to win their 13th straight match.
NFL Sunday [18:00, Sky Sports Xtra] opened with the Colts in Arrowhead at 51 deg.F. A good first drive by the Colts ended with a 29 yard TD pass from Manning to a wide open Stokley. 7-0. Holmes rushed through some huge holes and the Chiefs reached the Indy 3, but they were stopped and Andersen kicked a 22 yard FG. 7-3. The Colts' offence carried on moving, Harrison took a pass 38 yards to the KC 11 and James hit the end zone. 14-3.
Hall had a big kick return called back for holding but the Chiefs' first 2nd quarter drive ended with a 10 yard TD by Hall against a blitz. 14-10. The Colts came right back and Manning hit Lapinski in the end zone from 2 yards out. 21-10. Gonzales took the ball into the end zone but the play was called back for his pass interference. The Chiefs made a 4th and 4 inside the last 2 minutes when Hall took a pass to the 18. But Andersen missed a 38 yard FG try. Manning was crunched when the Colts began another drive and they just ran the clock out.
In the 3rd quarter, Holmes sprinted from the Chiefs' 30 to the Indy 22 but Macklin made him fumble and the Colts got the ball. The turnover yielded a 45 yard FG by Vanderjagt. 24-10. Holmes dashed 25 yards to the Indy 32 and he took the ball into the end zone from a yard out. 24-17. At the end of another Colts' drive, Manning hit Wayne with a 19 yard TD pass. 31-17. So Hall returned the kick off 92 yards for a TD! 31-24. Manning ran a quick play to catch the Chiefs with 12 men on the field, converting a 3rd and 8 to a 3rd and 3.
The drive ended in the 4th quarter with a 1 yard TD rush by James. 38-24 with 11 minutes left. KC were stopped, but instead of kicking the first punt of the match, they made a 4th down, they made another unseen 4th down during a brief black-out and Holmes made a 1 yard TD run. 38-31. 4:22 left but no on-side kick try. So the Colts ate up the clock and left KC at their 27 with 8 seconds left. The end.
In Conclusion: This was billed as a shoot-out and that's what we got; only the Colts managed a lot more shooting than the Chiefs.
Over to Philadelphia (25 deg.F) for the Packers versus the Eagles. The Packers started and the defences dominated. Green Bay made one 1st down during their second drive but Barnett got the ball back when McNabb fumbled while being chased by McKenzie. Favre's first play was a 40 yard TD pass to Ferguson! 7-0. Thrash returned the kick off to the Eagles' 44, McNabb rushed to the Green Bay 25 as the first play, the Packers challenged the ruling on a 3rd down pass reception and had it declared incomplete, and Akers missed a 33 yard FG try. Green rushed for 26 yards and Ferguson caught a 17 yard TD pass. 14-0.
The Eagles punted, they punted again after the officials got in a tangle, they downed the ball at the Green Bay 1 and they punted again after an illegal touching ruling. After stopping the Packers, the Eagles reached the Green Bay 7 via a 44 yard pass to Pinkston and Staley hit the end zone on the next play. 14-7. On a 3rd and 1, Green took the ball nearly 40 yards to the Eagles' 4, but the Packers were stopped cold on 4th down at the 1 foot line when Green was tripped by one of his own linemen.
In the 3rd quarter, Favre was crunched in Eagles' territory and Anderson crunched McNabb during the Eagles' drive. McNabb sprinted to the Packers' 12 as the quarter ended. The drive ended in the 4th quarter with a TD pass to Pinkston after McNabb had run all over the field and made the play of the match. 14-14. McNabb was sacked twice on the next Eagles' drive. Walker took a pass 44 yards to the Eagles' 7 and Longwell kicked a 21 yard FG. 17-14. The Packers stopped the Eagles with another sack and chewed time off the clock. Then they blew up. They dithered over a 4th and 1 with 2:30 left, received a delay of game penalty and punted. Staley rushed for 22 yards. McNabb was sacked bringing up 3rd and 26, then 4th and 26. Which McNabb made with a pass to a wide open Mitchell. On to FG range and Akers obliged from 37 yards. 17-17, overtime.
The Eagles won the toss, McNabb was sacked on 1st down and the Eagles punted. So Favre just slung the ball downfield to be intercepted. Then the Eagles advanced and won the match with a 31 yard FG. 17-20.
In Conclusion: The Eagles struggled at first but McNabb got them moving. And the Packers just surrendered at the end. The coaching staff lacked the courage to go for a 4th and 1 which could have won the match. The defence couldn't stop the Eagles on a 4th and 26, and Favre suffered severe brain-fade and threw the season away.
[Monday, 12th] The Enterprise was running into distortion fields [Anomaly, 20:00, Sky One] and everything stopped working. Cue an attack by pirates after Enterprize found a wrecked ship full of bodies. Enterprise took a prisoner and found a 19 km metal sphere with a vast cloaking field - the pirates' base. Cap'n B. Acula put the prisoner in an airlock after he found that the pirates had a Xindi database and Hoshi was able to download 90% of it. So the hunt for the Xindi continues.
[Tuesday, 13th] On All New Stargate SG1 [Fall-out, 20:00, Sky One], the Kelownans found that a naquita deposit on their planet was changing into unstable naquadria, and Jonas Quinn went to Earth for help. The planet was in danger of blowing up but the 3 nations just argued. Major Carter had to enlist the help of a Goa'uld undercover agent, who wanted the naquadria for herself, to stop the rot and save the day.
Fatal Error (1999) [22:00, Sci-Fi] began with a virus, which turned its victims calcified and brittle, loose in Seattle. Digicron was also about to launch a 500+ TV channel total communications service. A stroppy doctor and a female army virologist found that the virus was transmitted via TV screens - and only when someone tried to turn off a Digichron service! The geek writing Digicron's software had invented a computer virus which could jump to humans!
[Wednesday, 14th] We had the Siege of Sun Hill on The Bill [20:00, ITV 1]. Brandon swapped himself for his kids and ended up in the boiler room with WPC Bradford, the resident mad bitch. Bradford told Brandon she was abducted as a child but it was just another fantasy and she was nearly busted for giving false information to the police when another kid was abducted. Finally, she set the place on fire.
On Tremors [21:00, Sci-Fi], Burt shot a shrieker and the government's secret forces descended on him. Some mad female in the government's pay was training junior graboids to find people trapped by earthquakes. But there was a power failure and the shriekers got loose and ate just about everyone and started breeding like ... well, shriekers. Everyone ended up holed up at Burt's place, surrounded by shriekers. And the mad female set fire to his ammo and jammed the door of the secure room where the spare ammo was kept!
[Thursday, 15th] Back with The Bill [20:00, ITV 1], the score was mad cows - 2 (Bradford and Jim Carver's drunken wife, both arrested); people on the way out - 2 (Brandon, who resigned, and Okaro, who failed to cancel Bradford's swipe card, which gave her access to the nick). Meanwhile, the Firing Squad were touring the nick, Gary got to join Terry in CID for the day and the big theme was scumbag, coke-snorting city dealers getting into punch ups with ex-soldier derelicts, who live on the streets but have enough money to be busted regularly for being drunk and disorderly. Gary and Terry alternated strops and a scumbag dealer got his come-uppance. Brandon also got in a strop when he found that a nice old lady had been using him to swindle her insurance company.
[Friday, 16th] Trash & Lita versus Jazz and Molly to start WWE Raw [21:00, Sky Sports 3], with lots going on behind the ref's back, Teddy Long helping the swindle then Jericho and Mark Henry getting involved. Matt Hardy was moaning so Sheriff Austin gave him a match with Goldberg, who crunched the whiner. Dvon Dudley versus Batista was slow and shambolic with Flair and Bubba joining in. We ignored Triple Tedious' whine at the Has Been Kid. Coach got a boot in the mush, which ended his contribution to the commentary team.
Booker T did a lot of suffering before Kane got himself disqualified to prove he's a monster. Jazz and Trash joined in at ringside while Mark Henry and Jericho were going at it. And the ref was messing about with them when Henry tapped out. Randy Orton, who doesn't seem to have got a personality as a Xmas present, had a workmanlike match with RVD. Orton was getting his ass kicked before a break for ads but there was an amazing reversal when we came back. And when the ref was wiped out, everyone lost interest ahead of a routine swindle.
[Saturday, 17th] Heyman and Cena ranting to start SmackDown! [22:30, Sky Sports 1] and Rhyno zapped Cena when he put his hands on the GM. Blind Nidia, the yakuza and Rey Mysterio all became involved in the Noble-Tajiri match and the crafty Noble stole another win. Scotty and Rikishi versus the Bashams? No, against each other for a Royal Rumble place. So Scotty was sat upon. Then the Bashams fought Haas & Benjamin for Rumble places. Lots of cheating and Haas & Benjamin made the better job of it. Other Guerreros bashed Latino Creep in a long, tedious item. Like anybody cares!
The Wop Patrol had to mix it up for one Rumble place, and it was Mouthy Gito who took it. Big Show, in a neck brace, soon demolished Funaki while the Gorilla kept out of Hardcore Holly's way. Another Best of Billy Moment. In the 'wash yer mouth out with soap', Cena got 'zero tolerance' and Rhyno had 'anything goes', which included a kendo stick, a steel chair and a table, which the man-beast gored instead of Cena. So Heyman got to chew on the bar of 'soap'. With some help from the Crapper. Lots of filling in, as for Raw, and not much of a show for paying customers.
[Sunday, 18th] The Time Team [17:30, Channel 4] were in the Scottish Highlands at Loch Migdale, looking at a 'tiny' henge and a crannog in the lock. And also looking for the spot where the Migdale Hoard was found in 1900. Phil, in his wetsuit, helped to locate a causeway to the crannog. And the site was dated to 2,000 BC.
Live NFL, the Conference Championships [20:00, Sky Sports Xtra] began in Foxborough (31 deg., snowing a bit) with the Colts versus the Patriots. The Patriots had to make a 4th and 1 on their first series but a solid drive took them to the Indy 7 and Givens (looking bloodstained from the field markings) took a TD pass. 0-7 in 7 minutes. The Colts began with a false start but a 32 yard pass to Pollard took them to the New England 46. They got as far as the 5 then Manning was intercepted in the end zone by Harrison.
The Patriots began the 2nd quarter at the Indy 45. Brady was almost intercepted and the drive ended with a 32 yard FG by Vinatieri. 0-10. Law intercepted Manning's first play, the Patriots made a 4th and 8 and got a 25 yard FG out of this turnover. 0-13. Green sacked Manning, bringing up a 3rd and 17 for the Colts and a punt. The snap flew over the punter's head and he had to kick the ball through the end zone for a safety. 0-15. The Colts made a Pats receiver fumble and regained the ball at the NE 41; but they lost it again when Poole recovered a fumble by Harrison inside the last 2 minutes.
The Colts began the 3rd quarter at midfield, made a 4th and 1 on the first series, James got some good blocking, they advanced to the NE 2 and James stretched to get the ball into the end zone. 7-15. Brady started the next Patriots' drive with a 28 yard pass to Centers but they were stopped. Vinatieri shaped up for a 22 yard FG, which became 27 yards after a silly delay of game penalty. 7-18. Smith began the next Patriots' drive with a 34 yard dash through a big hole, and a 21 yard FG made the score 7-21. The Colts' drive started with McGinest sacking Manning and Law intercepted the next play at the Indy 31.
In the 4th quarter, the Pats reached the Indy 8 off a tipped pass but Harris intercepted Brady in the end zone. James made a 4th and 2 for the Colts to the NE 37, Manning took a sack to put the Colts out of FG range and Law got his 3rd interception. Green sacked Manning again on the next Colts' drive, but they made a 4th and 8 and Manning hit Pollard with a 7 yard TD pass. 14-21. 2:27 left. An on-side kick try failed but the Pats went 3 and out. The Colts blew up on a 4th and 10 with the officials ignoring all defensive holding. Brady fumbled on 3rd down and the Colts had the ball with 1:20 left. But after a review, the ref declared that Brady was down before the ball came out. So the Pats went on to kick a 34 yard FG and that was it.
In Conclusion: The Patriots' defence mugged the Colts' receivers consistently while enjoying a group blind eye from the officials. The Colts defence did a good job of keeping the Pats out of their end zone but their offence had an off day.
Next up, the Panthers in Philadelphia. The Panthers' return man almost lost the kick off and the visitors punted to the Eagles' 11 after making some progress. Witherspoon sacked McNabb to take the Eagles out of FG range and they had to punt. After an exchange of punts, the Panthers reached the Eagles 24 in the 2nd quarter and Delhomme hit Muhammad with a TD pass. 7-0.
McNabb was crunched by an all-out blitz and Detmer came on for one play. The Eagles challenged an incomplete pass ruling when going for a 3rd and 20, had the pass given and found themselves in range for Akers to kick a 41 yard FG. 7-3. Inside the last 2 minutes, Buckner sacked McNabb then Manning intercepted him. The Patriots couldn't move the ball and there was enough time left for Buckner to get another sack in.
The Eagles started the 3rd quarter on the ground with Staley, reached the Carolina 18 then Manning intercepted McNabb again. Manning stopped the next Eagles' drive with an interception after the ball bounced from a receiver. He returned the ball to the Philadelphia 37, the Panthers reached the 1 on pass interference in the end zone, and Foster went wide to the right, looked like he was stopped 3 times, but made it into the end zone. 14-3. Lots of work for the punters.
The Eagles thought they'd got the ball back by recovering a fumble by Smith while he was fighting for extra yards but, after a challenge, Smith was ruled down before the ball came out. Blitzing stopped the Panthers, they punted, and Detmer returned as QB for the Eagles. They made a 4th and 2 at the Carolina 42 but Morgan stopped the drive with an interception. Carolina kept the ball on the ground, forcing the Eagles to burn time outs, until they punted. The Eagles had to recover their fumble on the punt return. The Panthers blitzed, sacking Detmer for a loss at midfield. The drive blew up on a 4th and 18 at the 2 minute warning and the Panthers were able to run the clock out.
In Conclusion: This was very like the previous match: the Panthers' defence beating up Eagles' receivers with no objections from the officials, and the Eagles' defence keeping it tight while their offense couldn't put points on the board. So we'll have teams with tough defences confronting each other in Super Bowl 38.
[Monday, 19th] Still searching for Xindi, Enterprise found a shuttle and bodies on a planet where, according to the database, a Xindi ship had landed [Extinction, 20:00, Sky One]. Then the landing party started mutating into apemen! With T'Pol doing it more slowly than the humans. Some stroppy aliens turned up to zap the mutoids. The former occupants, who had been dying out, had seeded the planet with a virus which turned all visitors into their species as a means of replacing themselves. Captain B. Acula started a punch-up in a ruined city and the Doctor saved the day.
Sneakers (1992) [22:00, Sci-Fi] has become a bit of a historical film, as far as the computer technology is concerned. A gang of lovable experts, who get paid to try to penetrate security systems, recover the ultimate code-breaking gadget for the NSA. Only they were suckered by a former pal of the lead character (Robert Redford). And an ingenious scheme to retrieve the gadget doesn't quite go to plan for everyone, including the real NSA.
[Tuesday, 20th] This week's All New Stargate SG1 episode [Chimera, 20:00, Sky One] was unusual in that it let us know that some of the team have homes to go to away from the SGC. Major Carter was romancing a detective while not telling him what she does for a living while Daniel was being visited at night by the Goa'uld Osiris, who was occupying the body of a former girlfriend of Daniel's. Daniel kept turning up for work tired and reporting strange dreams; from which his colleagues worked out what was going on. So Osiris was zapped, the symbiote was removed from the girlfriend's body and Carter let her boyfriend into her big secret.
[Wednesday, 21st] On The Bill [20:00, ITV 1], the Borough Commander let Supt. Okaro off the hook for being black and the troops on the streets were dealing with stroppy black kids. Carla was a vicar's daughter and the Rev was burgled and bashed by Curtis, the boyfriend. Meanwhile, Jim and Marie were in court, where Marie lied her head off until her kid testified against her, so she copped a plea to stay out of gaol. Meanwhile, Curtis was nicked. He said he found ten grand in cash at the Rev's place. The Rev said it was a charitable donation and Mrs. Okaro does his books! So Meadows got to tell Okaro his missus is going to be busted.
An ass-blaster was loose on Tremors [21:00, Sci-Fi]. The creature is a fire-breathing dragon in reverse; a glider which launches itself via a fiery blast from its ass! The ladies of Perfection took over Burt's survival class while he tackled the AB; which had escaped from a Las Vegas magic act and had to be captured alive. The plan didn't exactly work out, but the fruits of the new survival course provided a solution to the problem.
[Thursday, 22nd] Back with The Bill [20:00, ITV 1], Nixon & Co. bashed in the wrong front door, Sgt. Murphy's back and Eva got to bust the dodgy Reverend and Mrs. Okaro. Then she got to turn over Supt. Okaro's home and found the Rev and Mrs. O are planning to buy a retreat in the Cotswolds. Meanwhile, Nixon was cutting corners but Rob shopped her to the DI. And Nixon's target was found to be tooled up. The target criminal's dad helped to set him up, then Dad turned up, despite being told to stay away, and he was shot by drive-by gangsters. The son had a lock-up full of guns. And Mrs. Okaro eventually stopped warring with her husband long enough to admitt that the Rev was a crook who'd been robbing the church blind and forging her signature on cheques. And finally, did Sgt. Murphy see Des lurking about?
[Friday, 23rd] There used to be a collapsing building (demolished) in the opening titles for NYPD Blue [00:00, Channel 4]. That's gone and we have new people and new images of New York post September 11th, 2001, and the new series is dedicated to the memory of the cops and firemen who died at the World Trade Centre. Meanwhile, Danny was still missing, but not for long, Andy was rampaging like a bear with a sore head and there were 4 more bodies for the homicide detectives to investigate. Out of the tangled web came a guy who said he'd helped to bury a carpet containing a body for a Mob guy. So it seems Danny's been in Brooklyn for the last 5 months. So we got a shot of Andy gazing angrily out over the river at the Empire State Building, which is prominent now that the WTC has gone. And Connie had to stop Andy from diving back into a bottle at the end.
WWE Raw [21:00, Sky Sports 3] had the Coach in charge and 15 guys competing for the No. 30 spot in the Royal Rumble. RVD and Booker started against Christian and Hardy, who did lots of cheatin' until an RVD frog splash on Hardy settled it. Y2J and Dupree showed off in alternation, and a Walls of Jericho won it. Then the first of the fillers. Mark Henry let Freako do a bit before killing him. More fillers.
How did we know Kane would get Spike Dudley as his opponent? That's the WWE for you. And Spike surprised us by getting Kane DQ'd. So he was ritually killed and left unable to compete in the final match. Steiner and Test ganged up on Goldberg but they fell out eventually and Goldberg triumphed. Fillers. Enter Sheriff Austin on his buggy to order Mick Foley to be at the Royal Rumble, or else!
Lita and Jazz provided some light relief with a routine swindle finish. Fillers. Orton versus Hurricane was just a build up to a shambles involving their associates and the Dudleys. And Coach was put through a table! Fillers. Finally, a 6-man, over-the-top-rope contest for place 30 in the Rumble. A titanic struggle and Goldberg rather than Orton came out on top.
[Saturday, 24th] SmackDown! [22:20, Sky Sports 1, late due to boxo] started with a rehash of the Guerrero saga - like anyone cares! Rey Mysterio versus Chuck, and the rest of the Wop Patrol, lasted a surprisingly long time thanks to Mysterio's agility. And when he sneaked a win, he was subjected to a mass assault paid for by Jamie Noble. Tajiri and Kidman had a brief but well executed match, which ended after a suicide move by Kidman. Big Show told the Gorilla to stop hiding behind him backstage. Albert versus Shannon Moore for a place in the Royal Rumble could have but one outcome.
Cena and the Crappler got to take on Rhyno, Matt Morgan and the Gorilla. Big Show should have been there too, but he was blockaded in his locker room. The Gorilla walked out of the titanic struggle and into an ambush by Hardcore Holly. Finally, an FU for Rhyno but no humiliation for Paul Heyman as Big Show arrived to save his ass. Bradshaw and Tajiri's yakuza had a rumble for a place in the Royal Rumble, with the big Texan taking it. The Best Billy Moment was the 'wedding' of Billy 'n' Chuck.
Finally, Kurt Angle gave Latino Creep a pep talk ahead of a tag match with Chavo and his dad. Kurt kept the Creep out of it at first, then his relatives beat up the Creep. Shambles; Kurt got a thumb in the eye and Angle Slammed the Creep before being removed for medical treatment by a posse of refs, and Chavo frog-splashed the Creep to show him who's boss. Like anyone cares!
[Sunday, 25th] It's a job keeping track of where we're up to with Stargate SG1 as Sky One is showing Series 4 at 18:00 on Monday to Friday and one episode per week of Series 7 at 20:00 on Tuesdays. But on Sundays, Channel 4 is showing Series 6. This week, Col. Mayborn got out of gaol by offering a gadget found in Egypt 80 years before, only he used it to do a runner with O'Neill in hot pursuit [Paradise Lost, 15:40]. Carter couldn't get the transporter to work and the Tok'ra said O'Neill and Mayborn were nowhere on the planet. Only Carter worked out that they'd been transported to a huge moon, where a Goa'uld had failed to enslave the population. And O'Neill told Mayborn he could be dropped off on another planet, instead of going to gaol, as O'Neill had had the pleasure of shooting him.
The Time Team [17:30, Channel 4] were working on a site 1,000 x 300 metres in Lincolnshire, digging up an Angular-Saxon cemetery ca 480 AD. They found a woman with a shield and a dagger, who seemed incredibly tall until her bones were found to be separated (she was still a respectable 5' 7"); and old woman with beads and a bloke who'd been buried clutching a pot. There was a lot of messing about with a circular feature, which wasn't a henge but a Beaker-folk barrow, the not very abundant evidence suggested.
The Midsomer Murder took place in Midsomer Worthy tonight [The Maid In Splendour, 21:00, ITV 1]. The Maid of the title is a pub in a village beset by a property speculator. And the young barman was shot in section 1. The pub had passed from father to son and the new management wanted to extend its restaurant at the expense of the public bar and the collection of dossers who drank there. The son got it next as he was on his way to sell the pub to the property speculator. And then things got very devious, there was a woman scorned at the back of all the trouble and a mighty silly ending!
[Monday, 26th] The Xindi were struggling to make their planet-buster on Enterprise [Jiin, 20:00, Sky One] and the Captain was itching after being turned into an alien in the last episode. He got into a punch up with a slave trader and took a Xindi spy aboard. The crew are also struggling to make Trellium D, which is needed to shield them from distortion waves. The female spy half-killed T'Pol and she got away with information to help the Xindi build a bio-weapon. While Cap'n Acula got a dead reptillian Xindi for study and a weapon.
[Tuesday, 27th] The Goa'uld attacked a supposedly secret off-world base on Stargate SG1 [Death Knell, 20:00, Sky One], and Carter was missing with a prototype of a weapons which can stop Anubis' new soldiers. Gen. Hammond tried to find out who had leaked the location of the base, and the Jaffa and the Tok'ra were scrapping. O'Neill led a rescue mission, the weapon worked but the Alliance broke up.
[Wednesday, 28th] A real flake took the Perfection El Blanco tour on Tremors [21:00, Sci-Fi]. Meanwhile, government scientists were getting dissolved in acid! The team included Dr. Franklin from Babylon 5 and the party was checking out the MixMaster situation. There was a huge carnivorous plant growing under the valley, and its seed pods were about to pop!
This has been a good couple of days for TV doctors. Dr. Phlox from Cap'n Acula's Enterprise was in Angel last night, Dr. Franklin was in Tremors and the EMH from Cap'n Quack's Voyager was in Small Soldiers (1998), the film following Tremors [22:00, Sci-Fi]. Toymakers put military chips into 'Action Man' type toy soldiers and monsters, making them much too clever to be let loose. Only a group started a war in an American suburb and the "Sir, Yes, Sir!!!" soldiers nearly wrecked the homes of a toy store owner and his neighbour. The lead characters were a couple of youngish teenagers but the film was full of laughs, thanks mainly to the antics of the robots, and suitable for adults.
[Thursday, 29th] The Bill [20:00, ITV 1] were dealing with a rapist, Leyton, who'd been let out of gaol and who was stalking one of his victims, Lisa. Okaro was throwing a moody in all directions and Sgt. Murphy told Inspector Gold that she'd seen Des. Then she got into a panic because her child-minder took the kid out for a walk. Terry and Eva hassled Leyton, Lisa's mum had a go at him and Sun Hill's finest got in touch with a previous victim, who'd not made a formal complaint. She had to tell her husband about the rape, and that she'd had a baby; which couldn't be used as evidence. But Terry and Eva were able to find Leyton's trophies and he's goin' darn. Meanwhile, Murphy's kid stopped breathing while the Aussie was baby-sitting!
[Friday, 30th] A rant from Y2J and Bischoff to open WWE Raw [22:00, Sky Sports 2] then RVD and Jericho took on Flair, Orton and Batista as a fine example of WWE fair play with a routine swindle finish after half an hour. Lots of messing about. Victoria & Lita had quite a long and vicious struggle with Molly & Jazz, with Victoria pinning Molly in the end. A rant from the wreck of Triple Tedious, helped by the Has Been Kid and Austin, and the Canadian Crappler.
Kane demolished the wrecks of Bubba and Dvon Dudley to prove what a monster he is. Rob Conway had a comedy match with Freako and Miss Jackie got her tits out as a distraction! The Coach versus Goldberg? Teddy Long brought Mark Henry into the equation, so Goldberg killed both of them. Finally, Mick Foley razzed up Orton then kicked his ass; and those of Flair and Batista.
[Saturday, 31st] CSI Miami [Blood Brothers, 21:00, Channel 5] began with a hit and run, and offered a sad tale of 2 brothers, one a thug and one with a veneer of civilization, whose South American father tortured information out of terrorist suspects for the US government, which had given the lads diplomatic immunity. When the dead woman's room mate turned up; drowned but not in the sea; Horatio & pals proved that the 'civilized' brother had killer her during sex in a swimming pool at the Canadian embassy. So H waited for the killers to go fishing in international waters and busted them.
SmackDown! [22:00, Sky Sports 1] began with Vince strutting out to the ring to tick Paul Heyman off for letting the Canadian Crappler defect to Raw and Heyman telling him he's doing another Royal Rumble. The Bashams had a fast and furious match with Kidman and new face Steve London, and they worked their usual switcheroo swindle again. Noble and Mysterio did some actual wrestling, then 'blind' Nidia got involved, contrived Noble's downfall and then let him know she ain't that blind after all!
A rant from the Gorilla and Latino Creep was supposed to have been zapped backstage. Orlando Jordan got in a few moves in his match with the Gorilla before going belly up for the Chump. Next: Rumble #2. Angle and Rhyno started, the Big Show hurled gangs of wrestlers around when he got in, Rikishi bumphreyed Big Show, Shelton Benjamin and Billy Gun, and it all came down to Kurt Angle and Latino Creep, whom the scripwriters had favoured.