Atherton in public “fuck” shocker

Accepting an award on behalf of Channel 4′s coverage of the Ashes last year, Michael Atherton yesterday announced:

Before I joined Channel 4 I played for a team that won f*** all for 15 years

[via Patrick]

On ya, Mike.

Bahhhhhhhhh bleat bahhhh

Oh the Sky Sports chaps are loving this, absolutely loving it. Hampshire have just beaten Ireland, and they can’t stop inferring that they’re all going to get pissed on Guinness. I don’t doubt they will, but SHUT UP about it.

After [whoever] got the Man-of-the-Match award, they said “Ooh, err, I don’t think there will be many clear heads tomorrow morning; Champagne and Guinness. Not the best mixture.” Well fuck me dead. Aren’t you insightful. No, it’s not a good mixture, and nor is the current crop of Sky Sports presenters.

I have no problem with any of them as people. They’re all thoroughly decent and were/are fine cricketers. I just wish they wouldn’t state the bleeding obvious – something I felt Channel 4 got spot on. They had a duty to provide a balance between teaching the game to newcomers (roadshows) and not patronising the longterm fans (us). Sky are all about glitz, glamour and shoving the blatant down our throats. It’s especially hard so early in the season, because it makes me want to eat my feet and stick a pen up my nose, ala Blackadder on the right.

Channel 4 got it so right. It’s now all so wrong, not to mention a total injustice that a large slice of the population will simply not see any cricket on TV for the next few years.

End of the road (for now) for BSkyB deal

The ECB’s decision to give BSkyB exclusive rights to show all Tests on PPV (pay per view) TV is now, almost certainly, non-overturnable. (I don’t know if that word exists, but it’s a cracker.) The following people participated in today’s Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee:

Mr David Collier, Chief Executive, England and Wales Cricket Board, Mr Richard Bevan, Chief Executive, Professional Cricketers’ Association; Mr Roger Mosey, Director of Sport, BBC, Mr Mark Sharman, Controller of Sport, ITV, Mr Andy Duncan, Chief Executive, Channel 4, Mr Colin Campbell, Director of Legal and Business Affairs, Five, Mr Vic Wakeling, Managing Director, Sky Sports (at approximately 10.30 a.m.); Lord Smith of Finsbury and Lord MacLaurin (at approximately 11.00 a.m.); Mr David Brook, Mr Anthony Wreford, and Mr Stedford Wallen, Keep Cricket Free Campaign (at approximately 11.30 a.m.); Rt Hon Richard Caborn MP, Minister for Sport, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (at approximately 11.50 a.m.).

There’s nothing yet at Hansard (incidentally, my family descend from Luke Hansard – the House’s original printer), but Cricinfo have a report here. In it, Caborn says:

“If you are asking me ‘Can a deal be done?’, I don’t think it can,” Caborn said. “I am making no bones about it. I am supporting the ECB in what it has done.”

2009 is how long we’ll have to wait for it to return to terrestrial – although that’s only the end-date of Sky’s contract which will go up for review again. John Howard wouldn’t put up with it, would he? (Scott or whoever – fill me in on the state of play as regards cricket on TV in Australia)

Simon Hughes’ “Morning Everyone”

Simon Hughes

With a title no doubt influenced by his Channel 4 colleague, Mr Benaud, Simon Hughes “The Analyst’s” new book (out in October) has a finalised front cover. Very much looking forward to reading it after his first two were so excellent.

UPDATE 21 October 2005. The book is now available at Amazon, priced £10.19. For more cricket books, see this tag.

Tony Greig joins Channel 4 team

Tony Greig joins the Channel 4 team for this summer’s Ashes. Here are the following voices you’ll be listening to in a few weeks time:

Mark Nicholas, Richie Benaud, Mike Atherton, Geoff Boycott, Michael Slater and Simon Hughes

Slater joining Channel 4

Following his admittance of depression, I had hoped Channel 4 would renew Michael Slater’s contract as a commentator this year – and they have. Great news. He’s enthusiastic, interesting and a good foil for Mark Nicholas this summer.

Alec Stewart replacing Dermot Reeve

Although I hated Reeve’s commentary, he did at least have some semblence of a sense of humour. Alec Stewart, cricketing-hero of mine that he is, alas has not. He hasn’t the dry wit of Benaud; the rudeness of Boycott; the fake-glamour of Mark Nicholas or the charm of Atherton. He’s really bloody dull, and on your screens all summer folks! Expect plenty of “Well, at the end of the day,” “To be honest,” “ballpark score,” “absolutely,” or any other equally pointless cliche.

What a snorter! Dermot Reeve: crack addict


You go away for a weekend, and look what happens? Dermot Reeve has quit Channel 4, where he was a commentator for 5 years, due to his announcement that he’s addicted to cocaine. No great loss, really – he’s a jumped-up twit – and no great suprise, either. His repetoire consisted of “Faaantastic shot” and “WOW.” Not the most intelligent of cricket commentators.

Reeve also suggested there was widespread use of “illegal substances” within cricket when he played. “If every cricketer I knew at the time I played was banned from playing, you would not have seen very good teams out there,” he said.

Make your own judgements from that, I guess.

Cricket on TV and Radio

There’re a few cricket-related things on TV (UK) and Radio in the next week which you might want to make a note of:

Batting for Hemmingway, by Mike Atherton, Thursday 19th, 11.30-1200, BBC Radio 4

Trivia Test Match, a re-run from 1992 about the rules of cricket, Friday 12.30, BBC7

Guyana: Trouble in Paradise
about Guyana, and the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies, Sunday, 01.45am, BBC4 (TV)

The Cricket Show: – it’s the only Cricket show on UK TV, so it’s worth watching, but – God – is it painful viewing or what? Channel 4, Sunday morning at 7.55 (not sure if that’s morning or evening – probably morning, knowing C4)

Cricket television coverage

It seems live cricket has died on terrestrial TV in Britain, or at least it has a “death date” starting 2006, as I mentioned back in November. Ofcom has agreed BSkyB a 4 year deal, isolating the British public from watching Cricket on the box. At least The Ashes will still be on C4 this year. On a similar note, what is happening about Australia’s coverage of the Ashes?

For those who want/need it, I’ll be providing DVD highlights of the Ashes after each Test (just need a blank DVD or 3 and for you to pay the postage). More on that later in the year.