It's Not Just Cricket. My Dear Old Thing; Cricket Legends Henry Blofeld and Graeme Swann Have Tales That Will Really Crease You Up. the Pair Talk to BRIAN DONALDSON Ahead of Their Live Show in Birmingham

Coventry Evening Telegraph (England), October 11, 2019 | Go to article overview

It's Not Just Cricket. My Dear Old Thing; Cricket Legends Henry Blofeld and Graeme Swann Have Tales That Will Really Crease You Up. the Pair Talk to BRIAN DONALDSON Ahead of Their Live Show in Birmingham


Byline: BRIAN DONALDSON

WHEN you spend time on tour with another person, it's always useful to enjoy each other's company. And with cricket commentating legend Henry Blofeld and England spin bowler of great renown Graeme Swann, who are about to embark on Dancing Down The Wicket, their third live extravaganza as a duo, the appreciation is clearly mutual.

"He's genuinely one of the warmest, most vivacious blokes," says Graeme about Henry. "His 'joie de vivre' is the highest accolade you can probably give a man; he always looks on the bright side of life, always has a silver lining, and always has a tale to tell in a plummy Etonian accent - marvellous!" As for Henry, he insists that Graeme is "great fun and a great friend of mine. We get on very well and make each other laugh. He has a great zest for life which I think I have as well. And of course, he was a marvellous off-spin bowler."

Across five decades, Henry was one of the undisputed voices of cricket, debuting on Test Match Special in 1972. When he retired in 2017, he was given a standing ovation on a lap of Lord's.

Meanwhile, Graeme made his county cricket debut in 1997 and became one of the top English bowlers of his generation. Among his many feats was equalling Jim Laker's spin record of taking ten wickets in one match back in 2010.

He retired from the game in 2013 and became a summariser on Test Match Special the following year.

However, Henry is keen to get the message across that their new show is not just for cricket lovers.

"It's a show with a tremendous background of cricket, of course, because we've both been hopelessly involved in it, but it's not a cricket show per se. We may show things that have happened on the field of play which were highly amusing, and we may even show Swanny's first ever Test match when he got a couple of wickets - only one other person has done that. More than anything, it's a laugh, it's anecdotal stuff. If you started to talk seriously about cricket you'd probably turn off half the audience. We have a broader compass than that."

Since the pair performed The Great British Spin Off in 2017, a lot has happened to them. "I retired from cricket commentary though my life has never been busier," notes Henry. "A lot of funny things have happened to both of us and we'll have a great laugh and I'm sure the audiences will too. We spark off each other in a splendid way."

In 2018, Graeme made a further name for himself as primetime BBC audiences witnessed his thrilling run in TV's Strictly Come Dancing during which he strutted his stuff on everything from the foxtrot to tango.

"I most enjoyed the live shows on a Saturday. Most contestants feared them but that was part of the reason I did it. …

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