Test Match Special at 50

Is it not time for more female voices on TMS? “I hoped Claire Connor might be the one, but I don’t worry too much about not having a female,” said Baxter.

“The audience have to be comfortable with the commentators and most female voices need to be pitched a bit lower. You need an alto, not a soprano. Clare Balding has a perfect voice for radio.” And what advice would he have for his successor?

“I hope he (Baxter presumes it will be a man) doesn’t lose sight of the fact the commentary is the main thing,” he said.

So says Peter Baxter, Test Match Special’s producer since time began. Interesting comments, and not something I’d ever considered. Personally, I find Balding’s voice almost indistinguishable from a man’s. Indeed, listening to her and Willie Carson speaking, it’s difficult to determine who exactly wears the trousers. So to speak.

Anyway, well done TMS. I don’t listen to it these days as we’re glued to the screen, for obvious reasons, but it remains the best of British. But for how long? With Baxter hanging up his microphone, he sounds an ominous warning note to his successor

“Five Live have people who are in charge of things called “station sound” and that rings a few alarm bells. The whole point of TMS is that it doesn’t sound like other commentaries.”

Station sound? I shudder at the thought. There’s every chance that some shallow-sighted media freaks could ruin a British institution, turning it into a brash (and by proxy, dull) service. Come on BBC: leave it alone. Change is not always for the best. There will be quite a few TMS pieces on Cricinfo tomorrow and over the week, starting with Andrew Miller’s interview with Baxter, so keep your mince pies peeled.

Who were your favourite commentators? What do you make of the current crop? Favourite TMS moment? etc. Not that I listen nearly as much as I’d like, but I think Mike Selvey is particularly brilliant and works well with Vic Marks.

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