Cruel cut as TVB strikes again

PUBLISHED : Monday, 24 July, 1995, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 24 July, 1995, 12:00am

JUST when you thought it was safe to enjoy a news sport bulletin . . .

We hadn't had an example of the dreaded Hitchcock-itis in recent weeks but, on Saturday, TVB's evening news corrected that . . . with knobs on.

In the past the masters of suspense in the VT editing suite have managed to cut action clips at the most inappropriate moment, usually in soccer matches as the striker is about to shoot.

Saturday's variation on the theme took liberties with the highlights from The Open at St Andrews as the phantom chopper contrived to drive the genteel fans of the Royal and Ancient game to the edge of distraction.

Picture the scene. Japanese hopeful Katsuyoshi Tomori chips from off the green, pitching favourably and on a bee-line for the pin.

The ball was rolling inexorably - 10 feet away, nine feet, eight. Then down to three, two. Then inches, just inches and 'CUT'. Perfectly timed for maximum audience frustration. Did the ball go in? Who knows? Normally complaints to the stations elicit fudged explanations along the lines that they only have limited time for the sport bulletin and must cut it as it falls.

However, that time-worn excuse won't wash here because they cut from Tomori's 'did it/didn't it?' shot to another inconsequential clip from The Open. So they did have time but simply chose to butcher the shot.

Another atrocity was committed by ESPN against their non-Nicam carrying viewers, also on Saturday.

The US-based sports channel had been providing excellent coverage of the Tour de France for more than two weeks previously with a superb highlight package show.

What made it so good was the English-language commentary by top-notch ESPN broadcast trio - Phil Liggett, Paul Sherwen and Adrian Karsten who were all in France covering the event. But suddenly, come the broadcast of stage 18, the language of choice became Cantonese.

Now by rights and the laws of the marketplace most, if not all, programmes in Hong Kong should be in Cantonese. But the gripe here is that up to that point the Tour commentary had been English-language for the first 17 stages. And stage 18 was Lance Armstrong's emotion-packed win for late teammate Fabio Casartelli who had died in a crash earlier in the week.

Even Armstrong's post-race interview was drowned out by the Cantonese.