VIOLENCE can never be condoned, even if it’s the best thing ever to have happened on Dancing on Ice. These incidents are also excellent:
Ricky Hatton vs Stephen Mulhern, 2024
Any qualms about this painful prank – the punchy man only did what Holly said, it’s fine – are set aside as you consider the force of the blow that sent Mulhern flying. It’s a shame more shows don’t keep a professional boxer on standby, ready for infractions. Imagine how much it would add to Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg.
Matt Hancock vs Jermaine Pennant, 2023
Once Hancock entered reality TV, he was going to get hit. It was what the public wanted. He stepped up to battle former footballer Pennant in the rain, was instantly overwhelmed and received a good smack in the head. Ofcom received more than 400 complaints that Hancock was allowed to wear protective headgear.
Lembit Opik vs Kade Callous, 2012
For reasons that are unclear except his pathetic need for publicity, former Lib Dem MP and all-purpose wanker Opik ended up in the ring with wrestler Kade Callous. It was not a fight that could have gone either way. The gangly non-sportsman was thoroughly mauled in a bout that goes on for a painfully long time. It’s a lovely tea break watch.
John Prescott and the hunt supporter, 2001
Fox hunting was being banned, Countryside Alliance protests were raging, and agricultural worker Craig Evans threw an egg at Prescott who dropped his shoulder and landed a straight left to the jaw. Labour won the subsequent election comfortably. It was a further five years before Prescott was outed as the ultimate 90s lad with an office affair.
Danny Dyer and Mo Teague, 2009
Danny Dyer’s Deadliest Men was always morally questionable TV full of thugs, bullshitters and, in one episode, members of the UVF. Mo Teague was an ex-bouncer who delivered a short but solid punch to Dyer’s chin that left him claiming he’d ‘nearly been knocked spark out’. After all that bigging up criminal scum it seems very much like karma.
Eric Cantona and the Crystal Palace fan, 1995
There was a time, a single incident, where Manchester United brought joy to everyone in the country. From the pre-kick build-up of Cantona’s sending off to the magnificent form of his kung fu kick against heckling fan Simmons to the post-match debate about its hilarity, everything was there. ‘When the seagulls follow the trawlers, it’s because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea.’ Wise words indeed.