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Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Wayne Rooney’s Street Striker, Sky1


Do we like it?
It's the reality show revelation of the season.

What is good about it?
• The Vernon Kays and Dermot O'Learys of this world may prance around like attention-seeking toddlers when called upon to appear on primetime television shows. But Wayne Rooney turns up in a hoodie, doesn't give a damn about being charismatic, mutters a bit and goes home without causing himself any shame.
• We like the concept. In locations that could serve as postcards for Broken Britain, a bunch of teenagers try to impress with their soccer skills – the sort of skills that if you attempt in a real game get you a broken leg courtesy of the hairy fullback.
• The lads are generally unassuming and get pleasure from watching their rivals shine. The only dislikable one, who modelled himself on Ronaldo, got an early exit.
• There's no spinning out the verdict nonsense, no heartbeat-like music, no panning from anxious face to anxious face. Rooney rejects the losers bashfully and quickly. He's sad but doesn't go through Cheryl Cole-like hysterics. There's a quick handshake and they're off.
• Most of the hard work is done by former football star Andy Ansah (surely you remember his days at Southend United?) and England international Sue Smith. Unlike the moronic mentors on other reality shows, they come across as decent people.
• Wayne's pushy missus Coleen doesn't show up.

What is bad about it?
• The show is heavily branded by soft drinks monstrosity Coca-Cola. The best way to enjoy the show, therefore, is to drink lashings of Pepsi Cola throughout, muttering "screw you, Coke" every few minutes.
• The show overdoes the "fulfilling a dream" nonsense. The prize, after all, is not to appear in the Manchester United forward line but merely a trip to a soccer camp in Brazil.

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