TONY ON TV: Glastonbury is no muddy hell for armchair music lovers

The BBC team at Glastonbury this weekend.
The BBC team at Glastonbury this weekend.

TV for the next week seems to feature the three Fs -- football, food and festival.

With wall-to-wall coverage of the World Cup from Brazil (minus England in the spotlight) contrasted with home turf action hotting up in ‘Celebrity MasterChef,’ the focus now turns on the music marathon that is Glastonbury.

This three-day bash -- for which tickets sold out within hours -- is said to involve around 300 BBC staff, more than the 270 rostered to cover the month-long soccer tournament in Brazil.

Still, the BBC defends its staffing levels of coverage from Worthy Farm with more than 250 hours of TV, radio, red button and online streaming that will please most music fans, whatever their ages.

Headline acts include Arcade Fire, Kasabian, Metallica, Robert Plant and Dolly Parton, and you can get a ringside seat this Friday by tuning into ‘The One Show’ on BBC1 at 7pm as presenters Chris Evans, Alex Jones and Fearne Cotton, who will be joined by special guests Deborah Harry and Kaiser Chief’s Ricky Wilson, give audiences a whistle-stop introduction to the festival.

Later, BBC3 features Haim, Lily Allen and Paolo Nutini, while seasoned performers Elbow make their fourth festival appearance on BBC4, ahead of a 10pm appointment on BBC2 as Jo Whiley, Mark Radcliffe and Lauren Laverne front nearly four hours’ coverage either side of ‘Newsnight.’

Getting a taxi to and from the festival will no doubt mean queuing, so spare a thought for Mason McQueen who uses his knowledge as a London black cab driver to feature in ‘A Cabbie Aboard’ (BBC2, Sunday).

He survived his first trip last week in the motorised madness of the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh, and now exchanges his patch to work in one of the coldest and most remote cities on Earth -- the boom town of Iqaluit on Baffin Island on the edge of the Canadian Arctic where locals shiver in temperatures of minus 30 degrees.

If that’s not bad enough, there’s no public transport (something it shares with parts of Mansfield on Sunday) so the hardy band of cab drivers perform an essential service in and around the city, which for eight months of the year is cut off by sea ice, as Mason finds out when he tackles roads icy with snow, and winds gusting 70 miles per hour, to get his passengers to their destinations.

The chills of the frozen north are the last thing on the minds of the eight hot-for-it guys and gals “starring” in ‘Ex on the Beach’ (MTV, Thursday).

So I’m obliged to Matt Edmondson, host of ‘TV:OD’ (ITV2, Thursday), for sitting through this tropical travesty where any fun in the sun looks scuppered as one-by-one the exes arrive to break up the party. Ideal viewing for those in the target 18-34 age group, or anyone else waiting in at home for their passport to arrive