Charlie's choice

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 24 July, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 24 July, 1996, 12:00am

There is little doubt that Britain's fashion queen, Vivienne Westwood, would approve of Charlie Charters' blazer.

In fact, Westwood would approve wholeheartedly of Charters, our very own Billy Bunter and ATV's Olympics host.

Not for him the reserved navy blazers of TVB Pearl's Olympics team; Charters, his heart and mouth worn on his sleeve, goes for sand or grey (depending on the colour of your TV screen) with blue and burgundy piping on the lapels and a huge ATV crest smack on the pocket.

My first reaction was horror but that mellowed into humour as I watched Charters on 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games Morning Live (World, 8am); a hulk of a man, his warm wit and mischief would be suffocated in anything less colourful.

The same could be said of Vivienne Westwood's clothing, which is neither known for its conservatism nor its natural co-ordination of colours and patterns: combine tartan shooting troos, cinched flowery jacket, striped high-necked blouse and you get the idea.

My mother threw her arms up in amazement when she first saw Westwood and her wardrobe. How could this peroxide bird be the diva of British fashion, she queried? A few years later, my mother can spot an imitation Westwood and on brave days dares to match her plaids and prints.

In Vivienne Westwood On Liberty (World, 11.05pm), the grande dame, as colourful herself as her creations, gives the public a rare and candid inside view of the garb and - often - garbage that goes on in the fashion industry.

The fashion world of models, designers, photographers and writers is a cliquey, elitist place, where 'plebs' are seldom invited, but, apparently, Westwood thought it time we had a look.

The film cuts between runway and backstage action, with interviews cut in by Westwood and Streatham supermodel Naomi Campbell.

I was going to say we all look the same in our pyjamas, but, of course, we don't.

Pyjama pants (I wonder if Charters' are trimmed in burgundy?) are what the teams presenting live Olympic coverage should be wearing off-camera beneath their blazers. You have to feel for these guys who are presenting live coverage throughout the night.

It's easy to tease and make jibes at their jackets, but at the end of the day, are they doing a good job? The odds are against them. Few of us would perform well on early morning live television if we were forced to grab just a few hours' sleep in the afternoon.

Pearl's Andrew Sams, Atlanta Olympics '96 - Olympic Spotlight (Pearl, 8am), who looked greyer and greyer as the Barcelona Olympics progressed, has left the comfort of hearth and home and his 15-month-old daughter, who doesn't respect daddy's working hours, to be nearer the studio for the duration of the 1996 Games.

Sleep aside, talking consistently intelligently on anything from shooting (the competitors look like Robocop) to beach volleyball to softball to handball would be impossible for the most knowledgeable of sports commentators.

It's made harder in this case by the film feed which is jumping about from one sport to another with no apparent notice to the studio hosts. As one well-informed sports watcher commented, 'they are just muddling through'.

Next week, when the top athletes get going for gold, we can expect more. Watch this space.

Incidentally, we have enough on-screen litter to contend with in Hong Kong with subtitles.

Why do we have to have channel logos at the top of the screen, which often obscure vital information? In ESPN's case a few days ago, the logo obscured the name of a player at golf's British Open.

Hole this practice in one, please!