|Take James Allen off the ITV coverage of F1. Now. Following Murray Walker was always going to be difficult, but could there have been a worse choice for a successor (for he is clearly a successor rather than a replacement)?
Where Murray Walker displayed excitement and interest, it was that of the enthusiast, infectious and inclusive. James Allen displays its toe-curling nerd's counterpart, the fawning enthusiasm of the schoolboy allowed to stay up late, have his first drink, and meet his heroes. All at once. But where the schoolboy would eventually be dismissed, and smiled at fondly by the remaining grown-ups, James Allen remains, with no awareness of the real reason for his apparent acceptance, and no humility in respect of the job he appears to be being allowed to do alongside real professionals.
Instead, paired with a real former driver (golly!), he continues to make his mawkish pronouncements, inevitably wrongly. He strays consistently towards the childish as well as the inaccurate, invariably scatologically, as those who remember his speculation over Michael Schumacher's reasons for a brief absence from the Monaco qualifying session will no doubt recall. All this on live coverage, alongside those who know their work. Has the man-boy no shame?
His joy at being with the big boys is embarrassingly apparent, and manifests itself as childish glee as well as the inevitable hero worship and astonishingly partisan coverage of Michael Schumacher (swoon). That this is allowed casts further doubt on the wisdom of the ITV management, but much in respect of James Allen continues to beggar belief. For instance, he named his son Enzo. And told the nation. What more needs be said?
Quite a lot, actually. Martin Brundle is clearly riled by the misplaced confidence of this upstart, always evading agreement, and often flatly contradicting the more ridiculous assertions of the colleague foist upon him.
And me? Well, if he says 'folks' once more, I won't watch another second of the ITV coverage.
What a tragedy, that such a one as this is put forward by ITV when they seemed finally to have mastered the format.