Test Match Special: Where do YOU stand on TMS?

As we all know, everything in life can be divided into things that make you angry or things that make you amazed. Where does the BBC's Test Match Special fall?

Michael Henderson has written a piece for the Guardian about how TMS is going to change later this year when its current producer, Peter Baxter, retires. Henderson implores the BBC to preserve TMS in its current form with maybe a bit of tinkering around the edges. He imbues the word 'accessible' with pejorative connotations and foresees a nightmare future of lowest common denominator cricket coverage.

Why? It's something of a presumption that any changes to TMS will be designed to hook that fictional everyman who the media so frequently court. Why won't the changes be for the better?

We like Test Match Special, don't get us wrong. We've even warmed to some of its more laughable eccentricities, to a degree. However, it's anything but accessible, in the literal sense. If you were new to cricket and wanted coverage of the sport that you'd recently come to love, you'd be pretty underwhelmed by TMS. It's insular and many of the team are downright offputting to many people. We mention no names.

One of Henderson's main defences of the current team are that several have good, clear speaking voices. If it weren't an article in The Guardian, we'd be tempted to believe that his reference to 'people who speak sloppily' were code for those with regional accents.

Again, we DO like Test Match Special. But why shouldn't an overhaul of the programme be more reminiscent of Channel 4's improvement on the BBC's staid TV coverage several years ago, rather than the desperate pandering to all that Michael Henderson envisages?

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Tuesday, May 01, 2012

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Anonymous SimonC said...

I disagree a bit about the accessibility. I was visiting my parents during Pakistan's tour of England and had TMS on. My mother (who loathes organised sports of all kinds) was so taken with Henry Blofeld that I found her listening to it the next day by choice*. She didn't have a clue what they were on about most of the time, but then neither did Blowers.

Okay, this is a fairly strange kind of accessibility, but it's something. You couldn't do anything as brilliant as Willow and Stumpy through the medium of radio, but then it's not like "the kids" listen to R4 anyway.

* It's possible she hadn't worked out how to switch the radio off long wave, however.

3:23 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, a good point SimonC, to a degree, but if Blowers were a young person who spoke like that, he'd be a tosser (please note, this isn't some kind of reverse snobbery, it's just that NO ONE speaks like that any more, not even silver spooners).

3:55 pm  
Anonymous matthewb said...

Michael Henderson is an intolerable snob of a journalist who has a face more punchable than Matthew Hayden's. For no reason other than he is a condescending knob-jockey (can I say that here?) he as already written 2 articles in 2007 denigrating Andy Murray for supposedly being a surly teenage brat, despite being literally the only successful British mainstream sportsperson currently. Therefore I disagree with Henderson, whatever he said - I didn't really read it.

6:08 pm  
Anonymous Mahinda said...

Well, it's just comforting, isn't it?

I find that nothing* makes me feel all warm and fluffy inside quite like Blowers and Aggers on TMS...and I'm only 28.

* Nothing related to sports coverage, anyway.

I have friends who came into cricket late...and most of them absolutely love TMS, as a symbol of something that's quintessentially English. Like Test cricket itself.

Anyway, I read that article a few days ago and found myself agreeing with it - sure, a few of the team could do with replacing, but the format's a good one.

However, it does all have a downside - I managed to write off my last car in a 75mph "losing steering then swerving across the M6, bouncing from hard shoulder to central reservation and then spinning a bit" crash this summer, all while listening to England vs SL on TMS. Maybe if I wasn't so relaxed, I'd have been able to counter the effects of the blowout? I'll never know...hopefully.

6:10 pm  

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