Memoirs of a cricket commentary legend

Post date: 
Monday, 2 July 2018

Henry Blofeld’s colourful cricket commentary has kept fans of the game informed and entertained for nearly half a century. Henry spoke to Connect about losing his sight and his new autobiography, “Over and Out: My Innings of a Lifetime with Test Match Special”.

Henry Blofeld and Graham Smith in commentary box

The man known familiarly as “Blowers” began his long career as a commentator on the BBC’s Test Match Special (TMS) in 1972, a role he only retired from last year.  

His conversational style of commentary helped TMS listeners, including many blind and partially sighted cricket lovers, feel like they were watching the match in Henry’s friendly company.
 

“I always wanted to try and make people feel they were actually in the commentary box with me. I think the greatest compliment a radio broadcaster can ever be paid is when people say you made them feel like they were there,” Henry says. 

Much of Henry’s success as a commentator came down to his bubbly personality and ability to make cricket enjoyable for everyone.

“You’ve got to try and talk about something that’s going to be of interest, and gets the viewer leaning forward in their seat. If you just stick to the cricket, then I think it can become a little bit boring.

“I’ve always tried to tell people what I can see and this brings into play all the things people laugh at. If I see buses and endless pigeons coming round the ground, that’s part of the scene.” 

For anyone who has followed Blowers’ career on the radio, on stage in his one-man theatre shows, or in the books he has penned, you could be forgiven for thinking you knew everything there is to know about the legend behind TMS. 

But his latest title, Over and Out, contains unheard memories, including his experiences of travelling to overseas matches, meeting and interviewing cricket-loving celebrities and entertaining stories of the different characters he’s commentated alongside.

“I wanted to write a light book that explained what fun the program was to work on,” Henry says.