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TMS ready for the summer

Adam Mountford | 16:48 UK time, Thursday, 8 May 2008

After a busy winter which saw TMS broadcast from places as widespread as Cape Town , Colombo and Christchurch, we are back on Thursday 15 May for the programme's 51st year bringing ball-by-ball commentary.

This is my first full summer as Test Match Special producer and I am really excited about the next few months. Although there is no doubt the whole landscape of world cricket feels a little different with the growing phenomenon of the Twenty20 game, there is something really special about the first Test Match of the summer.

I thought you'd like to know a little about our plans for Lord's and for the new season in general.

The BBC's Cricket Correspondent Jonathan Agnew will, of course, be leading our team for the first Test and he'll be joined by Henry Blofeld, Christopher Martin-Jenkins and New Zealand commentator Bryan Waddle.

CMJ has now retired from his job at The Times, but he's still a key part of our team and I'm hoping that now he doesn't have newspaper work to worry about he may even turn up for the odd commentary stint on time!

Our expert summarisers for Lord's are a diverse bunch. The irrepressible Geoff Boycott is back to offer his forthright views on the game and we'll hear exactly what he is going to be doing to help England's batsman in the future.

I am also delighted to say that former New Zealand captain Jeremy Coney is joining TMS once again. Coney, who led the Kiwis to their first series win in England back in 1986, has been living in Wales where he has just finished a postgraduate course in stage management and lighting design in Cardiff.

I am fairly certain that our third summariser, Phil Tufnell, did not apply for the same course! Tufnell instead showed his prowess eating witchetty grubs on his way to being crowned "King of the Jungle" on I'm a Celebrity - Get me out of here and is now demonstrating dubious sporting knowledge as one of the captains on A Question Of Sport. But he knows plenty about what it's like playing at Lord's after spending 16 years representing Middlesex at the home of cricket.

Lord's plays host to the first Test

Also part of the team this summer will be Alison Mitchell, who will be broadcasting live from the boundary edge. She will provide a different perspective on the action as well as keeping a close eye on any breaking stories.

As well as reporting regularly for TMS, Alison will also be offering a unique Blog from the Boundary on, and updating you throughout the day with her observations on the day's play via the brand new TMS Twitter. More details to follow shortly.

As well as our ball-by-ball commentary, there will be plenty more to enjoy during our coverage of the first Test.

I mentioned the Twenty20 cricket revolution and we'll be discussing that in more detail during Thursday's lunch interval.

As you may have seen on last week's Inside Sport, Jonathan Agnew has been in India to see how the Indian Premier League has been received.

Aggers has been talking to the likes of Matthew Hayden, Harbhajan Singh and Michael Hussey about the IPL and we will be asking whether it has been a success and what it means for the future of cricket.

On that subject, the chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board , Giles Clarke, will be joining us on Friday at tea to discuss possible plans for an English version of the IPL Twenty20 league and we'll get an update on the exciting plans of the Texan billionaire Sir Allen Stanford.

As always we want you to join the debate. You can text 84040, e-mail or contribute to the blog at any time.

But also during the lunch interval on Sunday you will be able to call the programme as well and talk to Aggers and the TMS team.

Our View from the Boundary normally takes place during the lunch interval on Saturday. But our special guest for this Test match has a good excuse for choosing a different day to be with us - on Saturday she'll be at Wembley singing at the Cup Final!

Lesley Garrett , Britain's best known soprano, will instead be joining us on Friday to talk about her love of cricket as well as her amazing career from the English National Opera to "The Sound of Music".

One of the things I've learnt in this job is that you never know who else may pop into the Test Match Special box. Last year we were joined at Lord's by cricket fans such as Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe, Nicholas Parsons and Razorlight's lead singer Johnny Borrell, so watch out for some unexpected guests during our coverage!

It all gets underway at 1045 BST on Thursday 15 May on Five Live Sports Extra, Radio Four long wave and online.

As well as ball-by-ball commentary on Test Match Special, Five Live will have updates every 15 minutes from Pat Murphy and Alec Stewart plus Gabby Logan will be broadcasting her Sunday morning Five Live programme live from Lord's on 18 May.

Radio One will also be live at the ground throughout the Test and at close of play Jonathan Agnew and Geoff Boycott will be rounding up the day's action with interviews from the main performers, which you'll be able to hear on Five Live or by downloading the Test Match Special podcast.


  • Comment number 1.

    Hello Adam, good stuff.

    Can't wait until next Thursday, first day of the first test and the first Blowers spell of the summer is one of the highlights of the year.

    Really pleased that Jeremy Coney will be part of the team, he was missed in the winter.

    And I'm also pleased that you will be having a reporter again on the coverage and Alison Mitchell is an excellent choice.

    I hope Simon Mann, Vic Marks, Mike Selvey, Gus Fraser and Graham Gooch will still be involved and any chance of a return for Foxy Fowler?

  • Comment number 2.

    Ahh, summer is here! Love TMS, it makes the summer!

    Oh my dear old thing - makes cricket what it is.

    Looking forward to Tuffers and his summarising, especially on batting!

    Awaiting the first ball on Thursday with glee.

  • Comment number 3.

    Gutted that the didactic Coney, the bullying Boycott and the preposterous Blofeld have been retained. Otherwise it promises to be a delight. Brian Wardle is a welcome addition to the box.

  • Comment number 4.

    Finally time to dig out the LW radio.... when does the unironed sage of Taunton get a go?

  • Comment number 5.

    Like David ShieldII (No.1) I very much hope that Simon Mann, Vic Marks et all will be on our airwaves this summer.

    Can you let us know when we will be hearing from them?

    I'd also love to hear the return of Foxy Fowler.

    To be honest, I am not that impressed with Tuffnel as a summariser (or his faux esturine accent) - Selvey and Fraser both have Middlesex experience and are far better in my opinion.

  • Comment number 6.

    great to have you back TMS.

    Replacing Boycott with Foxy Fowler would be a major improvement. The only time I've eve switched off was when I couldn't bear Geoffrey's repetitive winging any more. Foxy is a self-deprecating breath of fresh ait

  • Comment number 7.

    Hmmm, happy with all the commentators and summarisers you've mentioned, Adam - but I, too, sincerely hope to hear that Simon Mann, Vic Marks, Mike Selvey, Gus Fraser and Graham Gooch will still be involved.

    In response to people's opinions of Geoffrey - get over it, he's a Yorkshireman, he says what he thinks............but his tongue is always, ever so slightly, in his cheek!

  • Comment number 8.

    Hi Adam,

    Great build up to the summer. Am looking forward to Aggers in tandem with the Chairman of Somerset!

  • Comment number 9.

    Test Match Special producer Adam Mountford has a fascinating panel of commentators for the coming summer.

    In Test cricket lies the fullness of cricket as sport.

    These knowledgeable commentators are like professors of cricket discussing live the nuances, history and art as the match unfolds and evolves before all eyes.

    Best wishes to Jonathan Agnew, Henry Blofeld, Christopher Martin-Jenkins, Bryan Waddle, Geoff Boycott, Jeremy Coney and Alison Mitchell as they continue their service to the Gentleman's Game.

  • Comment number 10.

    As an overseas fan, am looking forward to hearing TMS on the internet again after being blocked out all winter. Recently saw Jonathan Agnew’s IPL segment on BBC World Inside Sport. He concluded that 20/20 has its place, but is a shallow form of cricket. Mr. Agnew looks and sounds fit as ever, but the show’s hyperactive shot changes, shifting camera angles and disjointed editing conspired to crush his natural gift for story telling. TV like that has its place, but in the end is shallow. A long, languid, meandering TMS conversation – now that’s worth tuning in for!

  • Comment number 11.

    If only, if only, if only... TMS were available to those of us who live outside the UK. A radio license is not necessary when in the UK, so why do 'contractual obligations' or whatever mean that TMS can't be heard online?

    Very unfair.

  • Comment number 12.

    Why is BBC dumbing down so much when all we want is straightforward reporting of the action with sensible comments. Phil Tufnell is in for the non cricketers and Geoff Boycotts rants seem increasingly forced. I agree Vic Marks is worth listening to. Stand up for the quality of reporting not for the cheap shots.

  • Comment number 13.

    Though I'm looking forward to the new season, I absolutely agree with all other posters regarding the co-commentators.

    Tuffers is good for fivelive/radio1 repots but he's not TMS calibre. In fact, he's rubbish as a commentator - he tells us nothing. Vic Marks is soooo superior, both in terms of the quality of his comments and the timbre of his voice.

    As to Gooch, I'm alwasy in two minds about him - he's a witty, illumitative commentator but he deserted English cricket for 3 years to take the apartheid dollar. To me, it's still unseemly that he was taken back into the fold. (Same goes for Boycott - a couple of traitors, propping up a racist system.)

  • Comment number 14.

    For an England fan living in NZ it was a great summer, made all the more enjoyable by being able to listen to Jonathon Agnew and CMJ on New Zealand radio.
    What we now need is to be able to tune in to TMS to listen to the return series in England.
    Come on BBC don't deprive us of our entitlement to gloat infront of our NZ workmates - let us have access to TMS - we all miss it.

  • Comment number 15.

    Surely it's time to pension off that fatuous windbag Blofeld? When I listen to TMS I want to hear correct commentary, interspersed with interesting comment - not pointless rambling interspersed with someone unable to remember the name of the batsman....

    Get rid of Blofeld, more Vic Marks and Foxy Fowler!!!

  • Comment number 16.

    Please include Vic Marks. He is an essential ingredient.

  • Comment number 17.

    Re Blofeld. I must admit that I rather enjoy the pointless rambling!

  • Comment number 18.

    What Cricket without Blowers !! Dread the thought. If you have ever seen Henry commentate he's as animated with his arms as he is descriptive with his words.

    Adam - we used to have a webcam in the TMS commentary box, which was fascinating - can we have it back please?

    Roll on Thursday !!

  • Comment number 19.

    I'm new to this blog thing. I too am excited about the imminent arrival of TMS. I hope that I will be able to receive it over the internet in Sudan in due course? Does anyone know?
    On balance, I'm happy with the quaintness of Henry B. It is a link back to the previous era with which I grew up.
    Very pleased that CMJ is staying on and I also feel that G Boycott has improved since his problems and is now an invaluable, more rational voice and an excellent foil for the outstanding Agnew.
    Tuffnell - hmm! Is this playing to the 'yoof' audience? Fine if he is up to it, but don't give him too long a contract! Marks is the man for me.
    Whoever is on, I'll be there - as Wendy Alexander said, "Bring it on!"

  • Comment number 20.

    Cricket without Blofeld is heaven. He is a pale imitation of Johnson, Arlott et al. Get rid.

  • Comment number 21.

    Blowers being back on air is - with the exception of my girlfriend saying 'yes' to my proposal - the best news I have heard all year.

  • Comment number 22.

    Looking forward to another season of TMS and appreciate this prior information. It must be a difficult balance to maintain the traditional appeal of the radio broadcast (wonderful conversation when rain stops play, chocolate cakes, pigeons and buses) and combine with modern mores (ever improving technology, five second attention spans, celebrity cults. the younger listener's lack of primary involvement with momentous events). To me, TMS has always segued effortlessly from Brylcreem to Botox, but clearly there is a lot of work behind the scenes to acheive this.
    There is probably room for both Boycott and Tuffnell, but I hope we don't lose Gus Fraser whose understated common sense is most welcome.

    Incidentally, surely Coney's "postgraduate course in stage management and lighting design" is a claasic Agnew wind-up!

  • Comment number 23.

    Forget this spell of hot weather... the REAL summer starts with the first step of the first run-up for the first ball on Thursday...

    TMS, 51 and stronger than ever. You do realise you can never leave us don't you!

  • Comment number 24.

    Another vote for the return of the fox. The thinking man's Mark Lawrensen. Foxy Fowler where are you?

  • Comment number 25.

    A quite splendid lineup When I hear Henry's voice on that 1st day at Lords I realise that Summer has finally arrived (its been freezing cold in Scotland while England basks).

    I have enjoyed the Aggers/Boycott podcasts over the winter. A good move to have them continue this summer.

    Where has Foxy gone ? We need a bit of lancashire colour to counterbalance the yorkshire of Boycott....TMS could always poach back bumble!

  • Comment number 26.

    Where do I send the cakes?

  • Comment number 27.

    Even though I'm a Middlesex member much prefer Selvey or Fraser to Tufnell - leave him on Five Live - not sure about boundary reporter either - surely commentators have a much better view - leave 'breaking stories' to Five Live as well - TMS is a sports programme, NOT news!

  • Comment number 28.

    Delighted the TMS team and "Test Cricket" (i.e. real cricket) swing back into action on Thursday.

    I like all the "big guns" Gooch, Fraser, Boycs, Marks, Selvey - where is Mike Gatting this year?

    Phil Tufnell on no!!!! TMS goes Saturday night prime-time ITV. Maybe get Ant and Dec (Twat and Dreck) on board while you are at it.

    Is there a TMS "listen again" internet facility available? For those of us out during the day, who would like to listen to some commentary in the evening?

  • Comment number 29.

    Some good news.

    I've seen the commentary team for the second test. Simon Mann, Vic Marks and Angus Fraser make their season debuts.

    And I read in the paper at the weekend that Blowers will commentate on the three London tests this summer, I'm pleased about that because they are spread evenly over the summer.

  • Comment number 30.

    Thanks David - happy to say that I rate all the TMS team announced; even Tuffers is good for the odd light moment!

    Roll on Thursday!!

  • Comment number 31.

    That is good news that Simon Mann, Vic Marks and Angus Fraser will be back. I enjoy Mike Selvey's commentary also although I think he sounds as if he looks so totally different from his photo (in the Guardian) it's almost uncanny.

    I suspect taking 'Tuffers' on is a misguided step, I think Adam gives away the reason by mentioning 'Celebrity' and TV rather than bowling!

    Will Shilpa be in the background?

    How many people will be as grumpy as me when they find out they are driving along (ie with long wave) and have to take some breaks for very uninteresting programmes. Although now we are in the UK at least it won't be for 'Yesterday in Parliament' or 'The Daily Service'.

  • Comment number 32.

    Hi Adam,
    Thats fantastic news and I can't say how I glad I am that TMS are back for another summer.

    As a 19 year old cricket lover, I always found it hard at school to have TMS around me, but at Uni, it's not been a problem and all I can say is roll on Thursday!

    Time to get the Radio, a newspaper, some revision notes, and of course a beverage (or two), and head down to the beach or the park

    Here's to some great cricket, some great memories and to the future!

  • Comment number 33.

    As long as Arlo White never, ever, returns to TMS, I don't mind who I hear.

  • Comment number 34.

    Suprised (pleasantly) by how erudite and knowledgeable Phil Tufnell is.

    He wasn't name checked by CMJ for the first 15 minutes, I couldn't beleive it was him.

    Well done Tuffers, Stay clear of "Happy days" comments. Then write a book like Simon Hughes...what REALLY happened in that Middlesex dressing room cat ?



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