David Moyes looked like a reluctant divorcee in a wine bar on a lads’ night out

David Moyes on Euro 2024 studio pundit duty for the BBC
David Moyes had a face like a wet weekend on the Isle of Bute as he sighed his way through Scotland's performance against Germany on the BBC

Three days, seven matches, the Euros already part of our daily life. And we can enjoy it in the comfort of home without having to throw any plastic furniture whatsoever, unless we wish to. Happy days. So what do we think of the show so far, TV-wise?

The BBC’s coverage had made a muted start, by which I mean David Moyes was front and centre for the Friday night highlights. As Wodehouse said: “It is never difficult to distinguish between a Scotsman with a grievance and a ray of sunshine” and Moyesy certainly had a face like a wet weekend on the Isle of Bute as he sighed his way through the deconstruction of Germany’s deconstruction of Steve Clarke’s side. It may not have helped that they had got the veteran manager perched precariously on a high chrome stool, giving him the uneasy look of an introverted recent divorcee coerced by pals into going on the pull in a wine bar. Things have picked up since.

With the BBC not doing a live game until Saturday, ITV had a clear run at the first three matches and has done well. The titles, with the animated Brothers Grimm fairytale caper are good fun; the BBC has also gone for a buzzy childlike vibe with a pinball machine. Something inoffensive, perhaps studiedly nostalgic, about both. The pre-tournament messaging from Uefa, as typified by ITV interviewee and tournament director Philipp Lahm, is to “focus on the football” and the players. This, surely, is a reaction against the Qatar World Cup and Gianni Infantino egomania absurdities, and that seems desirable. It has been impossible to take offence at the coverage so far.

Familiar faces and a pleasant change

The ITV line-up is familiar: Roy Keane, Graeme Souness and Ian Wright for the tournament opener. The midfield hardman duo seem looser and less aggy on ITV than they do/did on Sky. Roy began a withering, trademark warning that Scotland’s Bavarian hat-donning ambassador, midfield battler, bottom-sticker-outer and all-around ubermensch John McGinn “had done some dancing but now had to back that up”. Roy then appeared to catch himself overdoing the fire and brimstone stuff and began chuckling almost affably. ITV have engaged the services of Christina Unkel for some referee insight; despite some technical difficulties with her audio connection, she made a pleasant change from the usual Mike Dean guff. Ally McCoist remains Ally McCoist. On the other hand, Sam Matterface remains Sam Matterface. We know where we are.

ITV’s commercial breaks afford lengthy spots for companies with deep pockets like Adidas, with a Hey Jude (Bellingham) inspirational job featuring England heroes of previous vintage up to and including the inevitable Derek Peckman, who is flogging anything and everything at the tournament from crisps to Chinese dropship tat. A grim little snapshot of The Way We Live Now: the tournament is sponsored by a petrostate and a budget supermarket (Lidl). Before the opening match, Irn-Bru’s feature-length exploration dared to ask “sure, mannschaft is funny once, but what if it is also funny eight times in 60 seconds?” We have our answer: the commercial equivalent of Scotland’s 5-1 pumping. The most surprising commercial tie-in yet seen is Gary Neville and gentleman’s outfitters Hawes & Curtis. Gary has many great qualities but has always looked like he tucks his polyester polo shirt into his Official Manchester United y-fronts so we will have to see if this launches him as an unlikely style icon.

BBC presenter Mark Chapman, David Moyes, Ashley Williams and Danny Murphy
Stalwart presenter Mark Chapman (left) is always a safe pair of hands

The BBC coverage weighed in on Saturday night, Gary Lineker at the helm and, as ever, classily handling an unusual volume of sad housekeeping: Alan Hansen, Kevin Campbell, the young Millwall goalkeeper Matija Sarkic, who was a pal of Micah Richards. Micah seems to be giving more tactical chat rather than his bouncy younger brother schtick that he does on Sky, and it is solid. Cesc Fàbregas continues to be a welcome, tasty addition. The sort of chap you could take anywhere.

Sunday’s excellent Poland vs Netherlands game allowed the BBC to give minutes to the bench: Danny Murphy (grey shirt), Moyes (also grey shirt), Martin Keown (grey voice) on co-comms. Stalwarts Mark Chapman and Robyn Cowen kept things moving. Overall coverage review? No complaints so far, or at least no new ones.