How to get on Polish TV

TVP’s Wiadomości (News) called me yesterday and asked if I could comment on the fact that England is to play Germany in the World Cup. I explained carefully that not all English people know about football or have opinions on it. They replied that time was short and I decided an on-camera interview might be a fun thing to try at least once in my life.

Getting on Polish TV is about as difficult as coming down with flu in December: it gets everybody in the end. If you’re expecting stretched Hummers, behind-the-scenes wining and dining or the proximity of an unusual number of bikini models, you’re in for a disappointment. The set-up call came while I was in the pasta aisle at our local supermarket. The location was to be a rain-soaked Pl. Matejki fifteen minutes later. I turned up hooded in my best rainwear and practising my umbrella work.

The whole thing lasted three minutes, which they wisely cut down to about five seconds for the report. I carefully avoided revealing my ignorance and said something highly profound and amusing about England-Germany matches being shown in black and white and the advisability of having the commentary done by a Churchill impersonator. I also said something about 80 percent of English people being uninterested in football but compelled to watch England-Germany matches and the inability of the average Englishman to behave appropriately in a winning scenario. They cut it all out, which is just as well or I might now be in real danger of assassination.

My wife, who is beloved by the camera and appears in the background of the set-up shot, has so far received three fan emails, what with her being a famous kabaret-type person. I have received the assurance of fellow Polandian Scatts that I “didn’t look like a weirdo” and “held my umbrella well.”

Watch it on the TVP website. The report starts at about 21 minutes (you can click on the bar to skip to that point) and features a lot of far more enthusiastic football people than me.

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21 thoughts on “How to get on Polish TV

  1. Kuba says:

    I tried to watch your few seconds of fame, however, I got theis message when I tried

    przeprasamy, ze wzgleku na organiczenia licendyjne material nie jest dostepny na terytorium Twojego kraju.

    With diacriticals of course

  2. Jeannie says:

    I was restricted from watching it, too. It said, “Access denied.” That must have been a top-secret interview, Island ;-).

  3. Steve says:

    Only in Poland, I guess. I just watched it. An interesting example of TV programmes (every where in the world) telling you the news they want, rather than what the interviewee wants to say. Churchill is still there, though.

    I have even given up watching England matches as I felt they were too embarrassingly awful. My main memory is of English forwards getting close to the opposing team’s goal, passing the ball around to create an opportunity to score and then quickly passing it back to the English goalkeeper. The only moments I actually remember are of the ‘great hopes’ whose outstanding ability would ensure English victory: Gascoigne, having lost the ball, standing sadly on his own near the touchline while other team members are trying to get on with the game in the background, and Rooney eyeballing the linesman after having been caught offside (while other team members are trying to get on with the game in the background). My only moment of British pride this time came when watching how well some of the traditionally ‘second grade’ countries were playing and hearing which English team their team members played for. (I didn’t hear Scottish teams, but they have been mentioned as well.) Although I know other countries can claim the same thing, I like to think this is a real and lasting contribution to the game and life more generally.

    I would have been much more interested if Poland (Scotland, Wales, NI) had been playing. It is easier for my pride to presume they are second rate and I would have been able to get excited at the prospect of seeing if they could prove me wrong: strange psychology!

    Good luck England. Just think, if you get to the final, you have a 50% chance of winning. I wouldn’t put money on it though. Goalkeeper solidarity for ever! Anyway, ‘two world wars and two world cups’ wouldn’t sound right.

  4. island1 says:

    I tried to capture the video from the site but it’s some kind of tricksy Silverlight application. If anybody knows how to do this, let me know.

  5. island1 says:

    Okay, got a screen capture from somebody who filmed it because my wife was in it.

  6. Decoy says:

    It seems your wife’s half second of fame out-weighs your 10 second segment!

    I watched it as it happened – I was half-hoping you would be waxing lyrical ‘po polsku’ but you did well.

    My only point would be that the possible confusion caused by you speaking in English and then the caption describing you as “Felionista”.

  7. Name says:

    Hi Jamie,
    I’m afraid it’s more difficult to get on Polish TV than you think. It may require PR departament from

  8. Ian says:

    A fact I didn’t know until last week when someone told me is that in any World Cup finals that both England and Germany have been involved in – England have never played more games than Germany.

  9. wildphelps says:

    That is a very nice umbrella, and you did hold it very well.

  10. guest says:

    You are the new Kevin Aiston, the “Brit in charge” lol.

  11. island1 says:

    I thought about trying to do it in Polish but the sad truth is that my Polish remains at a strictly utilitarian level: trying to say anything interesting would have failed completely, though doing it in English may not have helped on that score.

  12. island1 says:

    It definitely helps.

  13. island1 says:

    Sounds like a strong possibility.

  14. island1 says:

    I learned everything I know from Sienfeld.

  15. island1 says:

    If only I did something useful, like put out fires.

  16. Michał says:

    Don’t worry, I have the same messages when I try to watch any of BBC materials. They must be top-secret too!

  17. Jeannie says:

    Oh, YaY, it worked! I was only able to hear, “England-Germany matches should be….” before it was overridden by the Polish translator. But you looked very cute and your wife is very pretty! :-) Well done on the umbrella front. Seinfeld is one of my favs, too.

  18. […] [Polandian] How to get on Polish TV […]

  19. Well you hardly seem the typical red blooded English male, Jamie.

    Still, you seem to have plenty of female admirers:

  20. Bartek says:

    Jamie, they always strike you out of the blue and request an interview. The last time I was interviewed by a radio journalist I spoke for over 10 minutes out of which he picked 10 seconds of the least interesting part and introduced me as “one Polish student”.

    Have fun… And pretend you’re an expert :)

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