Harry Thompson’s Penguins Stopped Play

I’ve mentioned this book before but only started to read it today, on the train. When your life is consumed by a subject such as cricket, you do become very critical of the (many) books out there. They tend to blur into eachother, forming one big cricket book blob of stats, cliches and annuals.

Fortunately, this makes the best shine even brighter and Harry Thompson’s Penguins Stopped Play is a perfect example. It’s colourfully written, with an easy, flowing dialogue and a great story. Best of all, as Thompson was such a gifted comedy writer, the book is lighthearted with some genuinely funny moments. I’ve not yet reached chapter three, so it could all go downhill dramatically. But I doubt it. Get it.

Limerick competition: Penguins Stopped Play

With the World Cup mere days away from starting proper, it’s definitely time I flung you some freebies. Four copies of Harry Thompson’s excellent Penguins Stopped Play: Eleven Cricketers Take on the World and, a month in advance of any shop, it’s in paperback. How fortunate you all are to read this blog. Many thanks to James Spackman and the good folk of John Murray.

It’s limerick time!

Your starter for five is either:

1) West Indies are hosting the Cup

2) They say the World Cup is wide open

We’ve run a few limerick competitions in the past which have gone down well. For those not sure of the style a limerick takes, it’s really simple: using one of the two starting lines below, construct a five-line verse with the rhyme scheme of aabba. See here for ideas. Or here.

Get to it. And don’t forget, if you don’t win, snag a copy from the shops.

Penguins Stopped Play: Eleven Cricketers Take on the World


Has anyone read this? It sounds quite good, and is written by the late Harry Thompson who died last year. Thompson, whose obituary features in this year’s Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack, was a cricket lover and comedian (comedic writer).

He either co-wrote, produced or directed a number of the UK’s comedy staple diet: Have I Got News For You, Newman and Baddiel in Pieces, They Think It’s All Over, Harry Enfield and Chums, The 11 O’Clock Show, Da Ali G Show, Never Mind the Buzzcocks and Monkey Dust. What a repetoire, and I happen to have loved every single one of those (apart from Monkey Dust).

Anyway, this book looks really good and worth buying.