Richard Ord: Internet sites are spoiling for a fight

Did you tune in to Broadchurch? Picture: ITV PLC.
Did you tune in to Broadchurch? Picture: ITV PLC.

‘England F.’ It will mean little, if anything, to the under-50s, but ‘England F’ is the partial headline spotted by Terry in a classic episode of 70s sitcom The Likely Lads.

Terry and his mate Bob are desperate to avoid the England football result so they can watch it on Match of the Day that night. There’s a £10 bet riding on the pair avoiding the result.

They are forced to spend the entire episode on the run so as not to have their entertainment ruined and pay out on their wager.

It’s near the end of the show that Bob admits he spotted part of a headline ‘England F’ in the local newspaper. Terry guesses that the full headline is ‘England Flop,’ ‘England Fail’ or ‘England Fiasco.’ Bob bounces back with alternatives like ‘England Fight Back,’ ‘England Forge Ahead’ and ‘England Five!’

Needless to say they are caught out within minutes of Match of the Day starting and forced to pay out £10 to avoid being told the result so they can enjoy the match in peace.

Turns out ‘England F’ stands for ‘England Flooded Out.’ The game was abandoned due to a waterlogged pitch … no match, a wasted day and the lads are a tenner down. A comedy classic.

I mention it because in the modern world it is becoming increasingly difficult to avoid having your TV entertainment spoiled. The rise of TV on demand is all very well, but watching your favourite shows at your leisure is fraught with difficulty.

You may choose to watch the show at a later date, but avoiding what happens is nigh on impossible. News organisations treat the conclusion of TV shows like vital breaking news.

On some sites the final episode of Broadchurch got a better show than the PM calling the General Election!

I missed the last episode, so have had to try and get through the day avoiding finding out who did it.

If it’s anything like the first series, it’ll be the least-likely suspect. My money’s on DI Alec Hardy (played by David Tennant), Britain’s worst TV detective. All he does is go around accusing everyone of the crime while digging up absolutely no evidence himself. Someone ought to tell him that being angry and not shaving, doesn’t mean you’re hard working.

My technique for avoiding finding out what happens on TV shows is the tried and tested close eyes, stick fingers in the ears, and walk away as soon as you hear the words “did you see” school of avoidance. I’ll let you know how I got on next week.

At least most internet news sites have the decency to put the words SPOILER ALERT in front of any story revealing a major TV plot twist.

On the night of the final episode of this season’s The Walking Dead, the Daily Mail website put a spoiler alert in its headline for a story in which they revealed which major character in the show was going to be turned into a zombie. All very well, but they used a photograph of the character as a zombie to accompany said story!

Spoiler alert? It was the equivalent of telling people to duck AFTER they’ve bumped their head on a low beam.

Forget ‘England F,’ ‘Daily Mail F’ came to mind after it spoilt my viewing. And the F didn’t stand for Flooded.