Anyone else remember the fantastic eighties mini-series Bodyline? It was about the England cricket team's controversial 1932-33 Ashes tour of Australia, where, frustrated by his team's inability to take the sublime Donald Bradman's wicket by fair means, English captain Douglas Jardine (brilliantly portrayed here by Hugo Weaving) resorted to the foul; ordering his bowlers (Harold Larwood et al) to bowl at the opposition batsmen's bodies rather than at the stumps. Such underhand tactics understandably went down like a rendition of God Save The Queen at an anti-monarchists meeting amongst the Australian public, to whom the young Bradman was already a national hero.
Honestly, it was such a memorable series (the TV one, I mean, although I'm sure the actual cricket series itself was good also). I first saw it when I was at school and it left a big impression on me - and now all these years later I've finally managed to pick it up on DVD (albeit from Oz; something this anti-English would never be released in Blighty!).
I've watched the first couple episodes so far, anyway, and two decades on it's still brilliant viewing. Anyone with an interest in the history of cricket and/or how the British Empire was perceived overseas really could do a lot worse than stumping up the £11 or so for it from here.
There are some great, unintentionally funny things about Bodyline as well, by the way. For instance, some of the "English" accents are truly atrocious. The kid who played the 9-year-old Jardine in a couple of scenes early on, for instance, couldn't have sounded less English/more Australian if he'd tried. Also, the various scenes supposedly set in England were all clearly shot in Oz as the weather looks absolutely boiling and we just don't get skies that blue or sunshine that bright here in the UK!
Oh yeah, and thanks to this sodding advert I keep singing "Whoa Bodyline, Bodylined for yooooou!" to meself during idle moments (of which there are many in my life). Really, it's just not cricket.
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