Friday, 27 January 2012

In praise of Test Match Special

On firing up Twitter this morning it was clear that, as per usual, those who had spent the previous two hours or so listening to Today , BBC radio's flagship current affairs programme, were in stinking bad moods. On the flip side were those who had been engrossed in the second Test Match between England and Pakistan in Abu Dhabi, they were full of the joys of spring, cock-a-hoop and bouncing towards their day.

The reaction on Twitter to the negativity which runs through the Today programme is considerable. There is a reaction to the presenters asking the wrong questions or for their overly aggressive tone; there is the antipathy shown towards the guests; and then a general sense that Today is covering the wrong stuff and in the wrong way. What a way to begin your day, although 6 million people do.

By contrast we have Test Match Special . It is a bouquet of brilliance, a shining example of quality broadcasting which showcases some truly great communicators who clearly love their jobs. The team is a blend of characters who all approach their task with good grace and a respect of others not often heard on Today. Jonathan Agnew, Geoffrey Boycott, Michael Vaughan, Henry Blofeld, Christopher Martin-Jenkins not only understand the game of cricket - it's tempo, foibles and nuances - but are able to paint a picture of the action in a calmly compelling way.

Recent commentary via an iPad when technology failed

The positivity that runs through TMS - as fans of the show refer to it - is infectious, putting a smile on the listeners face even if England are performing poorly. If England win, great, if a good game of cricket is unfurling in front of the TMS commentary box then this is even better.

On cold, dark, dank January mornings I thank my lucky stars I have been able to wake up to Aggers and the team rather than John Humphrys and his.


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