Shane Warne’s new TV advert

Apparently,

He was an expert at bamboozling England’s batsmen, but now Shane Warne is set to leave viewers flummoxed in a new TV advert.

The spin legend spent hours in make-up to appear as a baby and also as his own mum and dad.

Warne said: “It was a hoot. I absolutely loved doing the ads.”

Do leave a comment if you’ve seen it or, better, have a link to it.

BBC: Tudors

More non-cricket news because it’s far more important than anything else. Couch potatoes – in fact, everyone – should tune in and watch my friend Natalie in The Tudors this evening, and every evening. You should then tell everyone how brilliant you think she is, and spread the word about how startlingly attractive and gifted an actress she will be.

Get to it. She’s going to be absolutely massive.

TWC commentator’s poll

The latest issue of the Wisden Cricketer features the now regular poll on readers’ favourite commentators. Geoff Boycott takes top spot, followed by Jonathan Agnew, David Lloyd, Michael Atherton and Michael Holding.

What does everyone think about that?

And why was Mark Nicholas only eighth? Am I the only person around of the opinion that Nicholas is an unheralded broadcasting genius and at least the equal of Richie Benaud? Or do I go too far?

Sporting success and failure mirroring society?

I’m about to sit down and watch Nation in Film, that BBC programme of West Indies’ tour in 1976. And the following teaser was uttered by Darcus Howe, one of the contributors.

I don’t think West Indian cricket ever had such an intense reflection of what was taking place in society

Viv Richards is bowled

Is the same true of West Indies now? Does the success of a national sporting team reflect the successes or failures, depressions and moods of society? If it did back then (Howe says that Tony Greig’s “grovelling” comment was, in West Indians’ view, distinctly racist: white versus black), the effect is certainly less so nowadays.

I like stuff like this. Thoughts welcome.

West Indies in England, 1976 (TV)

This Friday, BBC Two are showing archive footage (and behind the scenes stuff) of West Indies’ tour of England in 1976. This was Tony Greig’s famous “grovelling” comment – read Martin Williamson’s Rewind about it.

The remark was highly inflammatory for a number of reasons, the main one being that Greig’s words, coming from a white South African, were seized on for racist overtones. “The word ‘grovel’ is one guaranteed to raise the blood pressure of any black man,” Lloyd said. “The fact they were used by a white South African made it even worse. We were angry and West Indians everywhere were angry. We resolved to show him and everyone else that the days for grovelling were over.”

More at the Beeb.

Mark Butcher on ‘Just the Two of Us’

First there was Darren Gough. Then Mark Ramprakash. And now, Mark Butcher is the third recent England cricketer to swap his whites for the mic. It’s passed me by until now but, on a drizzly Sunday evening, what else can you do but wade through the TV channels and find some nonsense to watch? The nonsense is called Just the Two of Us and is one of these reality TV things. I hate them with furious passion.

Whereas Gough and Ramprakash had no dancing ability whatsoever, yet still somehow managed to win, Butcher is a guitarist and musician of repute. So he’ll probably win it like his two England colleagues did.

All is not lost, England. Andrew Flintoff is a keen Elvis fan so look out for him on this show next year, with Steve Harmison on maracas and Chris Read and Geraint Jones fighting for the drumsticks.

“It’s not a blood sport; this is music,” Butcher said. “It’s not about hurting people it’s about making you feel good, and hopefully we did that tonight.”

God help us all.

Update Superb work from Will. Moments after posting that, Butcher was cast off into oblivion. Sorry!

Parkinson: The Shane Warne interview

Michael Parkinson, the renowned television interviewer, will talk with Shane Warne this Monday at 7.30pm on Australia’s UK TV. If anyone watches it, do leave a comment afterwards for those of us who won’t be able to see it.

[tags]shane warne, michael parkinson, tv, interview[/tags]

Never mind the cricketers. Think of us

The worst result of England’s dire winter has just hit me: the media response from the non-cricket-specific outlets. We are firmly back to the 1990s and it’s fairly sickening.

In the glory days of 2005 (if you can remember that far back), England’s victory silenced the doubters and the ignoramuses. They didn’t have any basis to slag the sport off; England were winning, and cricket was cool. All change. England are losing and cricket is for losers. Cue the dry-witted script-writers jumping all over England’s three-wheeling bandwagon with predictable, bland, pointless tongue-in-cheek remarks.

“And the third day’s play gets underway at 10.30 tonight – IF YOU CAN STAND IT – on BBC Radio 4 Long Wave,” reads the news reporter, with a smarmy ‘I know what I’m talking about; England can’t play cricket’ look on her face.

“Dark days for English cricket, then. But how’s the weather? Over to Mike Smugplank, hello Mike.”

“Oh hello there, yes, well England’s cricketers may not be enjoying the sun in Sydney and I’m afraid it’s not looking much brighter here either”

Oh how witty and clever – not to mention topical! Please change the record. You are not funny or remotely clever. And England’s so-called national sport, foot****, is still awarded the undeserved privilege of the news reader saying: “If you don’t wish to know the score, look away now”. Oh, come off it.

It’ll spread like a virus. Every comedy show, ever stand-up in London, every unimaginative script writer and bored subeditor on a daily will be trying desperately to fit in a mention to England’s failure as a cricket team. That’s fine, but for God’s sake don’t do it with a smarmy grin on your face!

And here endeth the first rant of 2007.

Super jacket, that

The cream, the bone, the white, the off-white, the ivory, or the beige? It’s Richie Benaud from the 1974-75 series

Super jacket, that

Courtesy of TMS.

An odd couple: Colville and Willis

There’s a scathing attack by Jim White in today’s Telegraph on Sky’s coverage of the first Test. It’s done with humour though, and had me in stitches – especially this on Charles Colville and Bob Willis:

While Bhasin is all eager and enthusiastic, bouncing round Boycott in puppyish thrill at being there, Colville has taken it upon himself to become the Mr Angry of the Ashes, fuming about England’s selection decisions, poor bowling and limp fielding.

Anything and everything is capable of sending him into a tailspin of rage. After the first Test ended in ignominious defeat on Monday, he became so incensed he had to be restrained by his guest, Nick Knight.

“Whoa Charles,” Knight said, wearing the startled look of a man who had stumbled into a recording of the new series on Bravo, When Normally Mild Mannered Cricket Chaps Attack. In fact, it was lucky Knight was there to tip a verbal bucket of water over the steaming presenter. Had Colville’s guest been – as it sometimes has – Bob Willis, the blood pressure in the studio would have turned thermo-nuclear.

It takes an act of significant will not to cower behind the sofa every time Willis – almost as angry as Colville – comes on screen. Especially now he has taken to delivering his goggle-eyed rants direct into the camera.

All he needs is to borrow Boycott’s headgear and he will morph seamlessly into the John McCririck of cricket.

There is an obvious solution for Duncan Fletcher as he searches for the speediest way back into the series: put Colville and Willis out there in Adelaide and even the battled-hardened Aussies would take flight at the very sight of them.

Chuck’s great value – I’d rather him, with his passion and anger, than a bland, shiny toe-the-line presenter. More at the Telegraph.