Semi-intelligible in five different languages, Sacha Distel was just the man to host Miss World (BBC1), a contest which he had every right to call a voyazh of discarvry.
This year even more than in previous years, the salient challenge proposed by the voyazh of discarvry was to discarvre among the contestants a girl you would bother to look twice at in the street. The smart money was on Miss Mexico, who had a fetching smile. But of Sacha’s five languages she seemed to misunderstand him in three, one of them her own. Her subsequent confusion probably did her no good at all with the judges – a panel of intellectual giants which included the lead singer of Thin Lizzy.
When Sacha asks a girl if she has any howareowebees, he is really asking her if she has any hobbies, but she would need to have known him a long time if she were to rumble this straight away. Those girls with English as a native language usually ignored Sacha and addressed themselves straight to camera, placing due emphasis on their philanthropic activities. My compatriot Miss Australia was outstanding in this department. Her main howareowebee, it transpired, was visiting the aged. She loved old people. She had known a man who was eighty-four years old, but he had died.
19 November, 1978