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Test Match Special

Tom Hollingworth praises a cherished broadcasting institution

For those who find 8 hours of continuous sleep elusive Test Match Special (TMS) is a boon with the Ashes continuing all through the night.

Neither its format nor type of characters have changed much over the years. Brian Johnston ” Johnners “,  full of public school japery, is now represented by the Etonian Henry Blofeld  and the witty Jonathan Agnew (“Aggers”). I am old enough to remember Yorkie Norman Yardley and the white rose, represented by Fred Trueman – and now Geoff Boycott.  The only real change, and it’s not always a happy one, is the inclusion of radio 5 sport generalists like Simon Mann.

The dynamics of interplay are always interesting, as often as not more than the cricket reported. Yesterday Geoff Boycott was at his curmudgeonly best and Aggers rather wilted in his storm of criticism. So the cerebral Ed Smith, who achieved a double first, as it were came to the crease clearly unintimidated by the steadfast opinions of Sir Geoffrey. Brian Johnston had a style which Aggers continues. This is a twin-fold approach of some humourous line and gentle ribbing alongside more serious commentary. Andrew the statistician deals with any enquiry thrown his way. It’s a high standard of broadcasting which would not tolerate some of the more oafish inarticulate ex footballers who do little more than state the bleeding obvious. Michael Vaughan, for example, is a fluent if slightly cocky commentator.

My only fear is its future. I can foresee some BBC type saying it doesn’t satisfy their diversity policy and introducing an inferior commentator to satisfy this.

About Tom Hollingworth

Tom Hollingsworth is a former deputy sports editor of the Daily Express. For many years he worked in a sports agency, representing mainly football players and motor racing drivers. Tom holds a private pilot’s licence and flying is his principal recreation. More Posts