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  Tuesday, 21 May, 2002, 15:44 GMT 16:44 UK
A breeze for Blowers
Blowers has one of radio's most distinctive voices
Henry Blofeld grins as he prepares for another Test

One of the most appealing aspects of Test Match Special is its effortless, easy-going feel.

One might expect that looking behind the scenes would destroy the magic, revealing that each witticism was, in fact, scripted the night beforehand.

A few minutes in the company of Henry Blofeld - possessor of, quite possibly, the most distinctive voice in broadcasting - quickly dispels any thought that the Test Match Special formula is concocted in advance.

"We are all naturally quite humourous people, and therefore I think it's quite natural that it should happen off the stage as well as on it," he said.

I enjoy everywhere I go. All countries are different, all play cricket in their own way - and I enjoy it all everywhere
Henry Blofeld

"We are just a group of friends who have come along to watch the cricket and people just eavesdrop on what we are saying.

"I think this has been the characteristic of Test Match Special.

"I think this is the reason that an awful lot of people watch the television picture with the sound turned down and listen to our commentary."

Like most on the TMS team, Blowers is a veritable gold mine of amusing anecdotes.

And his unorthodox commentary - in which passing seagulls or distant sirens are just as likely to get a mention as a powerful cover drive or an unplayable delivery - is unlikely to be found in any broadcasting rule book.

The technique works perfectly, of course.

And although Blowers' impossibly well-enunciated voice might make him sound as though he could be a little overbearing in the flesh, he is full of old school charm.


And it is difficult not to warm to a man who, for all his knowledge, still lists his favourite TMS moment as one which could have come straight from the pages of a Benny Hill script.

"I suppose my classic memory was at the Oval in 1976 when England were doing better than usual - they were 81-7 I think.

"Brian suddenly announced to an unsuspecting world: 'Well I can tell you the bowler's Holding the batsman's Willey'.

"I suppose that was the funniest of them. Brian had prepared that because he didn't laugh himself, which he was liable to do.

"I think he had lay awake at night working that one out. We were all surprised but suddenly we saw Michael Holding running in to bowl at Peter Willey, so fair dos."

And although many of his peers might be thinking of taking root in the members' bar of the MCC, Blowers' passion for the game - and for commentating upon it - remains undiminished.

"It's great fun to travel overseas. I enjoy everywhere I go," he said.

"All countries are different, all have their own characteristics, all countries play cricket in their own particular way.

"But I enjoy it all everywhere."

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