The Truth About Referees (ITV1)

Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares (C4)

'WHEN I get tempered I feel like taking it out on someone. I tend to hit players, swear and spit at the referee," admitted the soccer player.

The sentiments expressed are bad enough, but even worse when they come from a 14-year-old. Ricky Lee Melton has the dubious distinction of being the youngest player to receive an FA ban (of 253 days for the statistically-minded).

His brother Anthony, 18, was banned for nine months for head-butting and punching a player. Perhaps they should take up boxing instead of football.

The Truth About Referees showed that professional players aren't setting them much of an example. Refs receive as much of a kicking, physically and mentally, as the ball in pitch battles.

Like traffic wardens, they'll never win a popularity contest. Last year 4,000 referees hung up their whistles because the violence, threats and abuse were getting too much.

The programme was neatly timed to follow coverage of the Barcelona v Chelsea game. A previous clash between the teams, it was recalled, led to off-the-pitch drama and referee Anders Frisk quitting as a referee.

Swiss ref Urs Meier was the object of a press campaign against him after disallowing a goal that would have taken England through to the European Championship semi-final in 2004.

For a national newspaper to print his email and business addresses was not a nice thing to do. The emails he received were notable for their imaginative use of filthy language and promises of extreme violence.

Professional referees operate in a protected environment. Those who oversee local games have to fend for themselves, recalling being chased by men with machetes and having glass objects thrown at them.

It wasn't all bad news. David Beckham promised, through his football academy, to teach the players of tomorrow to do the right thing. Perhaps he could train chef Gordon Ramsay to moderate his language, although that would rob him of his trademark.

In the latest Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares, he met his match in Dave Jackson, who runs Clubway 41. They went head-to-head in a contest to see who could swear most.

The place was named Blackpool's restaurant of the year (which didn't say much about the rest) but this hadn't boosted business. The place was "like the Mary Celeste".

The celebrity chef discovered why there were so few customers after eating at the restaurant Dave runs with girlfriend Dawn. The pork "you'd struggle to give to a dog" and the sauce was "effing disgusting".

He was amazed to find that Dave had never cooked a casserole or mussels before. He didn't like being answered back by Dave. "Are you going to shout like some dick?," retorted Ramsay in his usual gentle, caring manner.

You could sympathise with him when, having shown Dave and Dawn how to turn their business around, he returned after eight months to find they'd abandoned the changes after a mere six weeks.

Saturday Night Fever: Newcastle Theatre Royal

IT'S the show that made white polyester fashionable, and many of the audience were there at the time. Set in 1976, originally a film with John Travolta in the lead role, it's infused with the disco spirit, helped along, of course, by the Bee Gees' unforgettable score.

Sean Mulligan as a rather toothy Tony Manero has the physique, the voice and the moves but somehow lacks the vulnerability to make vain, self-centred Tony a sympathetic character. King of the dancefloor at the Odyssey club, Tony is favourite to win the dance contest against rival clubs. His regular dance partner is Annette, appealingly played by Rebecca Dent. Rebecca was the winner of TV's Musicality competition but she's no fortunate amateur; her singing, dancing and stage presence show she's up where she belongs. Tony drops Annette when he meets sophisticated Manhattan girl Stephanie (Jayde Westaby) and falls in love with her during their dance practice sessions.

There's a depressing sub-plot about an unplanned teenage pregnancy which gives Stephen Webb as the unenthusiastic father-to-be the chance to air his tonsils with Tragedy, and very good he is, too.

The part of Monty was taken by Matt Cutts, covering for Sean Williamson who was ill. Matt's comic turn was warmer and more likeable than Williamson's which I've seen on another occasion, although the gym shorts were less remarkable!

The dancing is slick and energetic, especially the Puertan Rican couple at the dance contest; a lovely performance, too, from Marsha George as Shirley.

You'll find yourself singing all the way home.

* Mon-Sat, March 8-16. Booking Office: 0870-905 5060

Sue Heath