Under the duvet with TMS for the Ashes
There is something magical about following an Ashes series down under on the radio.
I remember as a 10-year-old sneaking my portable under the duvet cover to hear the dramatic conclusion to the 1982/83 Melbourne Test.
Henry Blofeld described the moment when Jeff Thomson edged Ian Botham into the slips: "He's dropped it, no he's out... he's caught in the slips. Tavare knocked it up and it was Miller who caught the rebound. England have won by three runs. Poor Thomson and Border walk back, utterly dejected."
It was the Melbourne Test which stood out again that year for me. As a cricket-obsessed 14-year-old, the anticipation of presents on Christmas Day was nothing compared to excitement of being allowed to stay up to hear the start of the Boxing Day Test at midnight. I remember being gripped as a half-fit Botham and last minute replacement Gladstone Small bowled Australia out to help secure the Ashes.
No England captain since Gatting has brought back the Ashes from Australia. Picture: Getty Images
It's amazing to think that 23 years later we are still waiting for England to win in Australia again - but many believe that this winter presents perhaps England's best chance of a win down under since those heady days when Mike Gatting led his team to Ashes success.
I am delighted to confirm that Test Match Special will be bringing you all the drama with ball-by-ball commentary, starting with the first Test in Brisbane on 25 November.
Jonathan Agnew will be leading our team throughout the Ashes series and will be heading to Australia shortly to bring you all the latest news from England's warm-up matches which start in Perth on 5 November.
Joining Aggers in the TMS box will be Christopher Martin-Jenkins and Simon Mann, with ABC radio's Jim Maxwell again providing the Australian perspective. We will also have "The Analyst" with us in Australia as Simon Hughes again joins the BBC cricket team.
Our expert summarisers include Michael Vaughan, who will always be remembered as the captain who ended 18 years of hurt when he led England to that thrilling Ashes success in 2005. But Vaughan also has fond memories as a player in Australia after his amazing series in 2002/03 when he scored 633 runs, including three centuries, becoming the number-one ranked batsman in the world.
Geoff Boycott will also be with us in Australia and he too has a fantastic Ashes pedigree. Boycott played 38 Tests against Australia and was part of several Ashes-winning sides both in England and down under.
His first Test century came during an Ashes series back in 1964 and of course perhaps Boycott's greatest moment came in a match against the old enemy famously scoring his 100th hundred in an Ashes Test on his home ground.
And TMS favourite Vic Marks will also be with us in Australia. The last time England won the Ashes down under, Vic was actually in Australia enjoying a very successful time as an overseas pro playing for Western Australia, helping them to win the Sheffield Shield. Vic will be on hand to provide his normal dose of wit and wisdom.
We will also have two Australian summarisers joining us during the series. Former Aussie captain and TMS regular Ian Chappell will be with us in Adelaide and Melbourne, while I am also delighted to say that former Australia opening batsman turned broadcaster Michael Slater will be with us in Brisbane, Perth and Sydney.
Slats has also enjoyed plenty of great Ashes moments. Who could forget the extravagant celebration which greeted his first Test century at Lords back in 1993, one of seven Ashes hundreds he scored. And it was Slater who set the tone back in 1994/95, famously striking the first ball of the series from Phil DeFreitas for four on his way to a blistering 176. Since retiring as a player Slater has become a highly successful cricket commentator working for Channel 4 in England and for Channel 9 in Australia.
Throughout the Ashes series, TMS will be on air every day half-an-hour before play begins to bring you the very best build-up. And don't panic if you can't be with us throughout the night - following each days play, BBC 5 live sports extra will broadcast the day's highlights, interviews and a comprehensive review of the action with Aggers and Geoff Boycott which will also be available as a daily podcast.
As you would expect, BBC Radio 5 live will also have comprehensive coverage of the Ashes with updates every 15 minutes, while Mark Pougatch will present an Ashes breakfast programme live from Australia throughout the series. Mark will bring you all the best reaction to each day's play and will be joined by the likes of Alec Stewart, Mark Butcher and Michael Vaughan.
You will also be able to relive each full day's TMS coverage via the BBC iPlayer.
And make sure you tune into 5 live Sport each day to look back and look forward including some special Ashes editions of the Phil Tufnell Cricket Show - while 5 live Sport is getting into the Ashes mood as early as Thursday, 28 October looking at "Great Ashes Characters" with guests including Allan Lamb, Rodney Hogg, Derek Randall and Merv Hughes, and will have a full Ashes preview as part of the programme on 16 November.
If you can't wait for any of those special programmes for your taste of Ashes fever, then I urge you to check out the outstanding TMS Ashes Archive - all the details can be found at www.bbc.co.uk/ashesarchive.
Plus, the BBC Sport website will of course offer the very best online Ashes coverage on the web including live text commentary, blogs, Jonathan Agnew's regular columns and behind-the-scenes photographs, whilst you should also check out twitter.com for the musings of Aggers, Michael Vaughan, Simon Mann and others.
It promises to be an absolutely thrilling next two months or so... I just hope we can provide some more magical Ashes moments as you sneak your radios under the duvet cover this winter.