Lords of the rings
Roy and H.G. have shed Channel 7 for Triple J Olympic heaven
IT WOULDN’T be the Olympics without Roy and H.G. The pair that dared to dream during Sydney 2000 with their top-rating late-night TV show The Dream and followed up with similar efforts at the Salt Lake City Winter Games and Athens in 2004, will turn their take-no-prisoners blowtorch on Beijing.
This time, however, Australia’s most unusual sports-commentary duo will be peering through the bamboo curtain on the radio.
Channel 7’s decision to decline the pair’s services means Triple J radio listeners are the big winners.
The Golden Ring Show featuring Rampaging Roy ‘‘Crouching Tiger’’ Slaven and H.G. ‘‘Hidden Dragon’’ Nelson kicks off on Sunday at 2pm ‘‘live’’ from the Mongolian Club in the Forbidden City.
Though disappointed at Seven’s decision to leave them behind, Nelson’s alter ego Greig Pickhaver says he is enthusiastic about the approaching extravaganza of sport.
‘‘We knew Seven didn’t want us, but of course we would have loved to have done it,’’ he says.
‘‘But falling back on to Triple J isn’t a bad result for us necessarily, because we get a toe in the water, have fun with more of the events and there are going to be updates and interviews and previews.’’
Exactly what Chinese officialdom would have made of the antics of Roy (John Doyle) and H.G. had they made it to the land of pandas, long marches and barbecued pork, though, is anybody’s guess.
After all, this is the pair who introduced the world to Fatso the Wombat and ensured the term ‘‘battered sav’’ and gymnastics are inseparable in the public mind.
H.G. is also the only commentator whose use of the phrase ‘‘update’’ produces instant sniggering.
Pickhaver says The Golden Ring Show will not be a pale imitation of their previous Olympic tilts on the box.
‘‘It’s unfair to say it’s going to be a radio version of the TV show, but it’s hard to know what’s going to unfold,’’ he says. ‘‘The big issues obviously we will seize on and could spend half an hour on that.’’
Pickhaver says Beijing’s Australia-friendly time zone means the team can deliver its unique take on events in real time, as opposed to the late-night after-action reports of previous Olympics.
‘‘So you can actually watch things on TV as we talk about it,’’ he says.
H.G. couldn’t resist having a spray at some of the sports lining up for a crack at gold.
‘‘This desire to attract a younger audience by including BMX bike riding and stuff just seems to be really try-hard,’’ Nelson says.
‘‘They should decide to have (video)gaming, like a gold (medal) in Grand Theft Auto. I can see Roy and me getting that together, especially in the pairs.’’
Nelson feels Aussie rules football’s place in the Olympic sun is at hand.
‘‘What would worry me, though, is we couldn’t confidently go in thinking we’d get gold. Never mind what Kevin Sheedy says. I think Australia’s No.1 status in AFL is really suspect.’’
He predicts the consequences of failing to mount the dais in No.1 spot after AFL Olympic competition would be dire.
‘‘Could you imagine the chatter on 3AW if that happened,’’ H.G. says.
‘‘You wouldn’t hear the end of it. Would it be the selectors to blame? Would you have to go back to basics with the coaching?’’
Roy Slaven (left) and H.G. Nelson will run their Olympic Chinese takeaway from Triple J.